Some intrepid British engineers are getting ready to send 'Andy' on another space-mission. Their mission is called STRaND-1 (Surrey Training Research and Nanosatellite Demonstration). The team at Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), intends to test the capabilities of an Android smartphone in the harsh environment of space, in an attempt to find cheaper and easier methods to develop their satellites. Researchers from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) are also assisting them.
During the beginning of the mission, the Android smartphone will simply be used as back-up to the spacecraft's primary computer. Eventually, 'Andy' will take over all functions to facilitate the test. They are including cameras to record the experiment. The spacecraft's radio will handle all communication to Earth. The Android is being tested as a less-expensive alternative control mechanism for the ship.
The Android's open source OS is key to the experiment because of its ability to be modified. This allows them to customize it to control the on-board systems of their spacecraft. Doug Liddle, head of science at SSTL, said,
"We're trying to use as much of the capability of the phone as possible... Ideally, the phone can take control and do the thinking." He also added, "If a smartphone can be proved to work in space, it opens up lots of new technologies to a multitude of people and companies for space who usually can't afford it. It's a real game-changer for the industry."
I guess a certain Apple phone is too 'closed-minded' for space-travel?
Source: Reuters via Phandroid