If Google wants to find somewhere not dominated by Apple’s iPhone, they’ll have to leave planet Earth — which is exactly what’s being planned. NASA will launch the Android-powered Nexus One smartphone this fall as the brains of a tiny nano-satellite.

The Android phone will be at the heart of PhoneSat, a 4-inch cube space agency engineers are building using off-the-shelf parts with a $3,500 budget. Turns out, the Android phone has all of the basic features to power what NASA hopes will be an orbiting ring of tiny satellites. Along with the Android operating system, the Nexus One has a fast processor, communications gear and a nifty camera with which to snap photos of Earth from space.

PhoneSat 1.0 won’t be doing any complex missions, however. The first version “has a basic mission goal of staying alive in space for a short period of time,” the government’s website explains. PhoneSat 2.0 will have bigger plans. With the new Nexus S as its brains, the PhoneSat will include a two-way radio for ground controllers, solar panels to charge the handset and the ability to change spatial orientation.

No word on why rocket scientists didn’t choose iOS for the tests. Perhaps more Androids were available or could fit the tiny budget. Either way, the project should lend the Android team a promotional bonanza: just imagine the ‘NASA-tested’ ad campaigns!

NASA plans to launch three Android-powered PhoneSats (two of the early versions and one 2.0 unit) in the fall as part of a test of the Antares rocket. Now that the Space Shuttle is grounded, the agency is giving Space X’s Falcon and the Antares from Orbital Sciences Corp. a chance to show their stuff on the launchpad.

  • Android can be twisted, de-coded, and recoded to fit whatever needs are there; iOS: well you’re pretty stuck, even after jailbreaking it you can’t recode the OS. Apple would have to work directly with NASA to make a version of iOS to work for this, which would go over their meager $3,500 budget. Plus I’m pretty sure NASA has been using BSD/GNU-Linux for almost all it’s missions for quite some time now, so it wouldn’t be hard to re-code the phone to what they need.

  • I want one and at $3500, I could actually afford it, if it were actually allowed of course. lol maybe we can finally make Teledesic a reality? 🙂

  • Androids in SPACE!!!!

  • I’m sure it’s possible to do the same with a jailbroken iOS device. I mean why would you need to recode the OS anyway. Give me some openSSH and a launch date and let’s make it happen lol

    • markfulaytar

      So now being a jailbraker qualifies you as a aerospace engineer and a rocket scientist

      • Geeks on Hugs

        That still fresh after three days lol

  • Neat.

  • another reason androids king

    • Fuck Android, that shit is garbage. You know it we all know it.

      • @dongiuj

        Yeah, that’s why NASA is using it.

      • Just because intelligent people are using a shitty product doesn’t make it good.

      • Geeks on Hugs

        Rocket scientists and the unwashed masses. I know it, NASA knows it.We all know it. You dont because you are willfully ignorant in slavish devotion to a sickly marketedcorporation. The iCult has you…

      • lol iCult.

      • Faizalla

        under the reality distortion field?

  • I hope the satellite isn’t square with rounded corners or NASA will be sued ~~

  • maurid

    Nice way to start the post, Ed Sutherland: by lying.

  • macboy74

    Oh great. Now we are going to have laggy, slow and unstable satellites in space running last years software.

    • I really don’t see what is slow laggy and unstable with, for example, Jelly Bean. Would you care to enlighten me?

      • Got a Samsung Android Device with 4.0, it is one of the most unstable OS’ I have ever used.
        And yes, I know that Jelly Bean is 4.1, but I doubt that it became much more stable.

      • Geeks on Hugs

        Android 3.0 and above rocks your socks off and makes them whiter

      • I don’t care about your (wrong) opinion.

      • Geeks on Hugs

        Yes you do, or you wouldn’t have taken the time to respond. Thank you! 🙂 I’m going to plus one you for caring about my (right) opinion!

      • macboy74

        I have a nexus 7 and I don’t see much difference between it and ics. There is still lag and it still very unstable. You’d think after their 4th version most of this stuff would be addressed. I mean come on people shit on ios being short on some features but it is way ahead as far as the way the os works. If the new iphone is great I along with many are jumping the android ship.

      • Funny you say that because the Nexus 7 comes with ICS. I sincerely doubt how someone with such username and avatar would buy an Android device.
        And no. Comparing stock iOS to Android is the equivalent of comparing Chrome OS to OS X or Windows. For someone who “owns a Nexus 7”, you sure seem to not notice all the features you can only dream about even on jailbroken iOS.

      • macboy74

        Lol umm no the nexus comes with JB not ICS. And since you didn’t know that I’m done with ya.

    • goofygreek

      there not sending a windows device up their.

  • Thorasgard

    So who is going to pull the battery on that thing when it freezes up?

    • goofygreek

      Im sure nasa has re-written the os with very specific functions. it probably doesnt even work the same way a regular android phone does now.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    The reason they didn’t consider iOS is because they’d need permission from Apple and might even have to pay a licensing fee and further they would almost certainly have no access to the source code.

    Being open source is of course why they chose Android and this is why Android is superior. Android encourages creativity. Note all the formfactors such as Asus’ Padfone and Transformer and Motorolas lapdock. You can also find Android running cameras, wristwatches, game consoles, refrigerators, media centers, car head units, networking equipment, etc etc etc etc.

    Etc etc ad infinitum, al astra forever and ever how wonderful you are (+1 if you can identify this reference)

    • Geeks on Hugs

      I don’t blame you. It’s far easier to minus 1 it then to try and refute what I said.

    • goofygreek

      I think any os or “smart” interface on a refrigerator is just getting a little to ridiculous. I mean, who is going to sit at their refrigerator and play angry birds?

      • Geeks on Hugs

        I agree with you, but the point is you can do anything with Android you want to. Silly as it is, you are as free to make a “smart fridge” as a space craft with it.

  • Geeks on Hugs

    “If Google wants to find somewhere not dominated byApple’s iPhone, they’ll have to leave planet Earth”

    They’d have to leave the parking lot at One Infinite Loop.

  • I said it is an unstable OS, I didn’t talk about 3rd Party Apps. The internal Apps crash constantly.
    And now about the graph: It is bullshit. No idea who created it, but he is an Idiot.
    Android Apps crash way more often than iOS Apps. e.g. on my Android Google Chrome crashes all the time, on iOS it never crashed. Also on Android many Apps using Dictation or 3D Graphics crash more often than on iOS.

    • As a comment on that site said… “How often does an OS itself actually crash? Pretty much never on either of these platforms. Because of this, I’d say that stability SHOULD be measured by how well the apps behave on the OS, which would mean that this study confirms what you said it suggests – Android is more stable.”
      Good to know, your experience with Android is worse than iOS. So what makes you think that just because apps crash more for you, they crash for absolutely everyone? Calling someone an idiot because he/she did a study which goes against what you believe, only proves you to be an idiot.