Samsung Nexus S Android Phone is Aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis as part of a research project.
The NASA Space Shuttle is on its final mission. Samsung and Google announced today that there is actually a Nexus S Android phone aboard the shuttle. The phone is of course not used to make calls, but it is part of a robotics experiment. The Nexus S is the first commercial smartphone certified by NASA to fly on the space shuttle and to be cleared for use on the International Space Station (ISS).
Nexus S from Google is part of research that will equip small, free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) used by the astronauts to provide a broader range of capabilities and give better communication between land and sky. The experiment will use the smartphone-enhanced SPHERES as remotely operated robots to conduct interior survey and inspections of the station, to capture mobile camera images and video, and to study how robots can support future human exploration.
The addition of Nexus S to the SPHERES will add to the capabilities of each individual satellite while further increasing NASA’s understanding and exploration of space. Lead engineer in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., DW Wheeler, explains, “By connecting a smartphone, we can immediately make SPHERES more intelligent. With Nexus S, the SPHERES will have a built-in camera to take pictures and video, sensors to help conduct inspections, a powerful computing unit to make calculations, and a Wi-Fi connection that we will use to transfer data in real-time to the space station and mission control.”
“Samsung is proud to have the Nexus S chosen to be aboard NASA’s final space shuttle launch, an event that is historical,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “The research that is being conducted with SPHERES using the Nexus S will help monitor and communicate from the International Space Station.”