NASA Just Fired 3 Smartphones Into Space

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NASA has launched three HTC Nexus-One smartphones into space as part of its Small Spacecraft Technology Program, reports the LA Times.

The adorable names picked out for the trio of space-borne phones? Alexander, Graham, and Bell, of course.

Each one is currently sitting pretty in 4-inch aluminium cubes, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of roughly 150 miles.

They’re called PhoneSats, and each one will be taking pictures and sending back radio messages. The messages are short bursts of data called “packets,” and each one is user-submitted. (You can see the packets here.)

The goal of the Small Spacecraft Technology Program is to build a viable satellite using off-the-shelf equipment and $10,000. LA Times elaborates, saying, “The smartphones aren’t entirely stock, however. There are two PhoneSat 1.0 craft that have larger, external lithium ion batteries, as well as one PhoneSat 2.0 that has solar cells.”

The phones will burn up as they re-enter the atmosphere over the next two weeks.

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