PhoneSat at Maker Faire

The 2012 Bay Area Maker Faire in San Mateo took place May 19-20 and among the stands was one displaying the PhoneSat amateur radio satellites.

There are two types of of these satellites both of which run the Android operating system and will be enclosed in a standard 1U CubeSat structure.

PhoneSat 1.0 cost about $3500 and is built around the Nexus One smartphone, it operates on battery power only with a mission lifetime of approx 1 week.

PhoneSat 2.0 is more expensive at $8000. It is built around the Nexus S smartphone and has solar panels on each face and a mission lifetime until de-orbit of approximately 2 weeks.

The IARU has coordinated a frequency of 437.425 MHz for the AX.25 AFSK downlink.

The first launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012 on Antares-110. It will carry two PhoneSat 1.0 satellites and one PhoneSat 2.0. A second PhoneSat launch is expected to occur in 2013.

Watch NANOSATHTC smart Phone-Satellite OS Android in a 10cm cube

Phonesat was also at the 2011 Maker Faire. In this video Ben explains the concept of a Phonesat.

Watch Android Phone as Autonomous Micro-Satellite: PhoneSat

IARU Amateur Satellite Frequency Coordination Status

PhoneSat project

NASA Ames Research Center continues work on its PhoneSat project, which is demonstrating the ability to build very-low-cost satellites using Android smartphones as processors.

Ames has built two versions of the PhoneSat – PhoneSat 1, which costs about $3500, and PhoneSat 2, which costs just under $8,000. Both versions are based on HTC Nexus One smartphones. The first PhoneSats are scheduled to be launched aboard an Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares launch vehicle. The launch, funded under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program, is scheduled for the third quarter of 2012. It will carry two PhoneSat 1 satellites and one PhoneSat 2. A second PhoneSat launch is expected to occur in 2013.

Smart Phone Satellite Presentation Video

In the United Kingdom volunteers from SSTL and SSC are using their own, free time to develop STRaND-1 a CubeSat that will carry a Smart Phone.

However Smart Phone satellites aren’t only being developed in the UK, the United States is developing one as well. Radio amateur Mike Safyan KJ6MVL gave a presentation on the US PhoneSat to the 2011 TAPR Digital Communications Conference and thanks to ARVN a video is now available.

A PhoneSat Really? Use an off the shelf smart phone as the guts of a satellite? Yep, that’s what radio amateur Mike Safyan KJ6MVL is doing over at NASA. He described the project in his talk at the 2011 ARRL/TAPR DCC in Baltimore.

Of course, todays phones have way more computer power than typical satellites, updated phones are released like every 5 minutes, and they’re dirt cheap (relatively). But can they hold up and do the job in the rigors of space? So far, Mike’s sent his phone up on a near space balloon and a small rocket, and yes, it works. A full CubeSat launch is next for Mike and crew.

Watch 2011 DCC – PhoneSat

Make: magazine – PhoneSat Aims to Send a Cellphone into Space (video)

A six page article on UK PhoneSat STRaND-1 appeared in the Spring issue of the AMSAT-UK publication OSCAR News available for download at

UK Smartphone CubeSat STRaND-1

Amateur Radio Video News (ARVN)