Guildford scientists build world's first space smartphone
By mattcollison | Friday, February 08, 2013, 11:25
A MOBILE phone built by a team of Guildford scientists is set to become the world's first functioning smartphone in space.
STRaND 1 will be blasted into space on February 25.
A team of scientists from Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology in Guildford built the device.
STRaND1 is a mobile phone modified into a space satellite which will be blasted into orbit from India on February 25.
The device - a 4.3kg CubeSat - is made up of a Google Nexus One phone fitted with solar panels and propulsion.
Jointly developed by a young team of scientists at Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), it will be operated from SSCs ground control at University of Surrey in Guildford and gather data using the phone's 'apps' software.
The mission will partly test the smartphone's components, including its cameras, radio links and computer processors, in a space environment.
Dr Chris Bridges, SSC's lead engineer on the project, said: "A smartphone on a satellite like this has never been launched before but our tests have been pretty thorough, subjecting the phone to oven and freezer temperatures, to a vacuum and blasting it with radiation.
"It has a good chance of working as it should, but you can never make true design evolutions or foster innovation without taking a few risks - STRaND is cool because it allows us to do just that."
SSTL's Head of Science, Doug Liddle said: "We've deliberately asked this enthusiastic and talented young team to do something very non-standard in terms of the timescales, processes and the technologies used to put the satellite together because we want to maximise what we learn from this research programme.
"I can't wait to see what happens next."
You can follow STRaND at https://twitter.com/SurreyNanosats