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  5. Android handset to be blasted off to space

Android handset to be blasted off to space

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Android handset to be blasted off to space

A team of British engineers are plotting to send an Android phone in to the Earth's orbit, in a bid to determine its hardiness in one of the harshest environments known to man – space.

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), a research firm based in Guildford, is hard at work on a project named STRaND-1 that involves sending a custom-built Android phone to accompany a 30cm-long satellite to take snaps of our great spinning marble.

While it’s nothing new for phones to be sent off on high-flying adventures - Google’s own Nexus S made a balloon trip last year and was still working some 60,000 feet above the planet’s surface - it's fair to say that the chaps at SSTL are taking things to, erm, unimagined heights.

SSTL project manager Shaun Kenyon told BBC: "Modern smartphones are pretty amazing.

"They come now with processors that can go up to 1GHz, and they have loads of flash memory. First of all, we want to see if the phone works up there, and if it does, we want to see if the phone can control a satellite."

Unlike the Nexus S, the SSTL handset is not just a promotional stunt, however. It will also be used to control the STRaND-1 satellite it will accompany, by relaying instructions from a computer back on earth.

The payload is said to cost just £300, making it one of the cheapest satellite endeavours yet.

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