February 27, 2021

Google Nexus One-controlled spacecraft Strand-1 set for launch

Surrey Space Centre, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited lead the project


BANGALORE, INDIA: A path-breaking smartphone-controlled spacecraft is apparently all set for its launch soon. No, it is not an Apple iPhone we are discussing, though it was deemed the most suitable for space voyage by NASA.

The device, the Nexus One, is from the rival Android camp, Google, and is reported to be a part of the British spacecraft during its orbit for six months.

The smartphone would be ‘pressed up’ against a side panel of the spacecraft, named Strand-1 – Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration-1. The project has been led from the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), both in Guildford, stated a BBC report.

An integral part of a quest to find new thinking and new technologies, Strand-1 was packed off to India this week for a rocket launch that is likely to occur at the end of the month, added BBC.

“We haven’t gutted the Nexus. We’ve done lots and lots of tests on it; we’ve put our own software on it. But we’ve essentially got a regular phone, connected up the USB to it and put it in the satellite,” BBC News quoted Dr Chris Bridges, SSC’s lead engineer on the programme.

“This is about looking at the latest technologies that are out there and seeing whether they are up to the harsh challenge of space.”

The Google Nexus would be mounted against a side panel of the 30cm-long, 4.3kg “cubesat”, which is touted to allow its 5-megapixel camera to look out through a hole and take pictures of the Earth and the Moon, according to the report.