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Small Spacecraft Technology


Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction


The PhoneSat series of missions demonstrated the use of a commercial mobile phone as an on-board computer for CubeSats. The project also demonstrated the practicality of using off-the-shelf electronics products in spaceflight applications. PhoneSats 1.0 and 2.0 demonstrated that commercially available reaction wheels and custom torque coils can work for low-cost attitude determine and control system (ADCS), and that TASC solar arrays charge batteries. PhoneSat 2.4 demonstrated that low-cost COTS ADCS works in space and that an AndroidTM processor works as an S-band command and telemetry modem. PhoneSat 2.5 verified Google's AndroidTM processor can support space-based communications systems. 2.5 also demonstrated transmission of images to a groudstation. Demonstration of very low cost satellite bus based on smartphone electronics.  Each PhoneSat is a 1U cubesat (10 cm cube) Project started in 2010 by small team at NASA Ames Research Center and was later included in Small Spacecraft Technology Program portfolio Early prototypes were flight-tested on sounding rockets and on a high altitude balloon. Launch as a secondary payload was originally scheduled for June 2012 and delayed multiple times due to launch vehicle and pad issues.  During the course of delays, satellite development continued and more advanced versions are now available for flight. 1st launch now planned for early 2013 with three versions of PhoneSat: Version 1.0 – simplest battery-powered version; Version 1.0 with attached payload; Version 2.0b – with solar panels for longer mission life

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