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Wireless Dealer Magazine CITA 2013 Issue

W D M NASA Successfully Launches Three Smartphone Satellites Three smartphones destined to become low-cost satellites rode to space Sunday aboard the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket f rom NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia. The trio of “PhoneSats” is operating in orbit, and may prove to be the lowest-cost satellites ever flown in space. The goal of NASA’s PhoneSat mission is to determine whether a consumer-grade smartphone can be used as the main flight avionics of a capable, yet very inexpensive, satellite. Transmissions f rom all three PhoneSats have been received at multiple ground stations on Earth, indicating they are operating normally. The PhoneSat team at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., will continue to monitor the satellites in the coming days. The satellites are expected to remain in orbit for as long as two weeks. “It’s always great to see a space technology mission make it to orbit -- the high f rontier is the ultimate testing ground for new and innovative space technologies of the future,” said Michael Gazarik, NASA’s associate administrator for space technology in Washington. “Smartphones offer a wealth of potential capabilities for flying small, low-cost, powerful satellites for atmospheric or Earth science, communications, or other spaceborn applications. They also may open space to a whole new generation of commercial, academic and citizen-space users.” Satellites consisting mainly of the smartphones will send information about their health via radio back to Earth in an effort to demonstrate they can work as satellites in space. The spacecraft also will attempt to take pictures of Earth using their cameras. Amateur radio operators around the world can participate in the mission by monitoring transmissions and retrieving image data f rom the three satellites. Large images will be transmitted in small chunks and will be reconstructed through a distributed ground station network. More information can found at: http://www.phonesat.org 52


Wireless Dealer Magazine CITA 2013 Issue
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