Android to Soon Power the Satellites Which Spy on You

I kid, I kid: I’m not some tinfoil hat-wearing nut who thinks the government is trying to conspire against me at all times. This story is about a satellite with a smartphone on board – one with hardware powerful enough to make British satellite firm SSTL want to put the thing onto a unit and launch it into space.

“Modern smartphones are pretty amazing,” said SSTL project manager Shaun Kenyon. “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.”

More than the hardware, though, there’s one thing on-board that has them even more excited: Android.

“The open source nature of the software is very exciting because you can see how further down the line, once we’ve got the phone working in orbit, we could get people to develop apps for it,” says SSTL’s Doug Liddle.

What types of apps these would be, he wouldn’t say. But he did say that the phone isn’t meant to run the show out of the starting gate – that would be up to the same technology they’ve trusted and employed for years. Instead, it will act as a backup in case anything abnormal happens, and it will even get to stretch its legs after some time in space.

Sounds pretty cool to me. Not the first we’ve heard of Android heading into outer-space, but it is the first time it will play a significant role in the launch of a working satellite. Chalk yet another one up for the green guy. [via BBC] [Thanks, Paul!]

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  • Mr. G2

    Im Starting to believe that Android is going to be Skynet in the future…. *goosebumps*

  • Omar

    Android robot terminators! hah, but they look so cute :)

  • bill

    Some one will root it…..

  • Francis

    I for one would like to welcome our Android overlords…

  • DrFill

    Sling shot some angry birds at the North Korea?

  • ILikeBubbles

    +1 to Francis! lol Although i’m as much of a google fan as you can find (although i don’t write apps or apks etc) i do believe that they still need their competition to keep their heads small and encourage innovation (not that they need the encouragement but hey im leaving room for the unknown).

  • AndroidA

    LOL @Mr.G2 i’ve always thought that too!!

  • fluffy

    I wonder how they’ll engineer the cooling. Android phones probably get pretty hot when they’re operated in a vacuum.

  • Brad

    @fluffy – Um, do you know anything at all about space? Apparently not, or else you’d know that the temperature in space is approximately -455 degree Fahrenheit, which is about 30 degrees above absolute zero. Something tells me that cooling will not be a problem. If it ceases to function, it will be because it’s frozen solid, not because it’s overheating. The fact that it’s in a vacuum means absolutely nothing.

  • Brad

    Oops, that’s actually 3 degrees above absolute zero, not 30. I was a bit generous there.

  • Blaque37

    Android is the anti-christ

  • Ahmed.S

    Hmm…what happens when a new version drops? Will the satellite housed smartphone still whine and complain for the latest and greatest version of Android, or will the Astronauts impatiently check for OTAs ;)

  • http://na billy v
    Yes, the govt does spy on us. Furthmore, why do you use the word nut? Not very proffessional. Maybe you are the nutt? What dictates crazy? Emotional status? You are projecting negativity…

  • michael

    Cooling is a valid concern since in low earth orbit you still encounter the earths atmosphere and there is the 1000 Watts per meter squared from the sun we have to deal with so a satillite alternates between very hot and very cold. Btw 3 degrees Kelvin is the temperature OF space not IN space. You should get yourself a good orbital mechanics book.

  • bamaredwingsfan

    Open the podbay doors HAL!

  • Adrian

    This was on Radio 4 this morning