Android will be phoning home from the Space Shuttle, according to Samsung, the OEM behind the Android-based Nexus S.
According to a press release, the 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.
According to Samsung, 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.
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.
“By connecting a smartphone, we can immediately make SPHERES more intelligent. With a smartphone, 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,” said lead engineer in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., DW Wheeler, in a statement.
This is the space shuttle Atlantis’ final flight. The iconic American space craft is currently embarked upon a 12-day mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Atlantis’ STS-135 mission will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired.