The communication components in smartphones and satellites aren't all that different, except that satellite guts are better rated for external factors like temperature and impact. But one British aerospace firm wants to see how well a smartphone fares in space.
Wired says that the University of Surrey and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited are working together to create a satellite, dubbed the STRAND-1, which uses the internals from a commercial Android smartphone to handle all the communication and control functions - namely transmitting photos of Earth while it's in orbit.
The researchers are excited by the possibility of using smartphone internals because they cost a fraction of what aerospace-grade components would cost. The satellite, which is 11.8 inches long and weighs under 10 4.5kg, will initially have an on-board computer that monitors the smartphone components and make sure everything is functioning as it should. If all goes to plan, the satellite will go into orbit sometime this year. [Wired]