Sep 01 AT 2:34 PM Dustin Earley 14 Comments

Video: NASA chooses Android to power satellites in space

Screen Shot 2011-09-01 at 3.01.18 PM

Android is no stranger to outer space. The Samsung Galaxy S II got out of this world in July. And back in December 2010, the Nexus S was rigged up to a weather balloon and sent into the atmosphere to test the Nexus’ on-board sensors. According to the fellows in charge of the project, Android’s “robust” open development environment allowed them to “modify at any level necessary,” making Android and the Nexus S the perfect candidates for scientific exploration. While that project may have seemed more like a science project turned publicity stunt, it actually laid the groundwork for a much bigger affair.

Today, Google has released detailed information on how the Nexus S was sent into space with the shuttle Atlantis to participate in mission STS-135. Thanks again to the open development environment of Android, NASA engineers were able to upgrade three “volleyball-sized” SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites) to be Android compatible. With the enhancements made to the satellites, the Nexus S can now monitor the SPHERES’ sensors and capture video footage for data logging. Eventually, the SPHERES will be fully controlled with an Android phone using the IOIO board and the ADK. And after that? NASA plans to use the Nexus WiFi connection to control the satellites from Earth. NASA is seeking new ways to interact with equipment in space, and Android is really coming through for them.

To learn more about Android’s adventures in space, watch the video below and head on over to NASA’s website. If you’re interested in the kinds of apps used on the mission, you can download the Sensor Data Logger below as well.


Source: Google

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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  • Jess Blanchard

    Ain’t got nothin’ on this guy.

    • Dustin Earley

      What about Wheatley?

  • Irma la dunde

    ehhhhh, now even fragmentation in space ,satellites???? wtf


    hey thats my N2?!!!!

  • ncalvin

    There’s nothing about this article that can’t be turned into a Portal 2 reference.

  • Tran Lang

    I am so proud that I choose Android to be part of my daily activities and an owner of a Nexus S.

  • Interpol91

    Pure awesomeness.

  • Hacknet07

    Tran. lol you’re funny.

    • BiGMERF

      hes a tranny

  • Sam G

    Well it’s not like they could use iOS?

  • R

    I prefer Android, but the number one reason NASA is using it vs M$ or a company named after a fruit is cost. Google does not charge for the software.

  • webgrunt

    But won’t it be expensive to keep running fresh batteries up to the satellites every hour or so?

  • SliestDragon

    Wow, this is just amazing. Besides the fact that it’s android, it’s cool to see them using phones to do stuff like this up there.

  • Aplicatii Android

    Android is a very versatile OS. For example a physics student built a reconnaissance robot using an Android powered Samsung Galaxy i5500 Smartphone. I hope It isn’t considered spam and the author can delete my comment if I break any rules because I’ll point the link to the article: . You can use google translate if you don’t understand Romanian language (the translation is very good by Google)