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Space exploration? There’s an app for that

Google Nexus One used to power tiny UK satellite, launching later this month

It’s often said that man went to the Moon using computers less powerful than your smartphone – so perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised to see a smartphone used to power a soon-to-launch satellite.

STRaND-1, a satellite built by scientists from the University of Surrey, will be shot into space on 25th February, and its vital functions will be looked after by a lowly Google Nexus One. The scientists tested the Android phone to searing heat, freezing cold and even radiation, and found it more than tough enough for the purpose – although they admit that there’s some level of risk involved.

STRaND-1 is just 12 inches long and about 5kg in weight, and will be launched into sun-synchronous orbit from India. The Nexus One on board will control the majority of the phone’s functions, and use apps to take measurements from space. It’s apparently the first time a smartphone has been used in this way.

[IET via Gizmodo]

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home