Nexus S On Board for Final Mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis


Today’s launch of the space shuttle Atlantis may have been the last for NASA’s veteran fleet of manned spacecraft, but it is only the beginning of new research being undertaken with the help of the Android powered Nexus S. The Nexus S was on board the final shuttle launch to help test a new breed of small, free-flying satellites known as SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites). The handset becomes the first phone to be certified by NASA to partake in space shuttle missionsand cleared for use on the International Space Station.

The Nexus S isn’t the first Google phone to find its way to space — the Nexus One has seen the upper limits of our atmosphere in the past. You can read more about the SPHERES program and the Nexus S in space in the presser below.


NASA has equipped a trio of SPHERES with a Nexus S by Google
smartphone to head to the International Space Station

Kennedy Space Center – July 8, 2011 — Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), a leading mobile phone provider and the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S. 1, and Google™ today announced Nexus™ S, is aboard NASA’s final space shuttle. As a leader in technology and innovation, Samsung is pleased to be a part of this moment which will most certainly be marked in history.
Nexus S from Google is part of research that will equip small, free-flying satellites called Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) used by the astronauts to provide a broader range of capabilities and give better communication between land and sky. Nexus S is the first commercial smartphone certified by NASA to fly on the space shuttle and to be cleared for use on the International Space Station. The experiment will use the smartphone-enhanced SPHERES as remotely operated robots to conduct interior survey and inspections of the station, to capture mobile camera images and video, and to study how robots can support future human exploration.
The addition of Nexus S to the SPHERES will add to the capabilities of each individual satellite while further increasing NASA’s understanding and exploration of space. Lead engineer in the Intelligent Robotics Group at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., DW Wheeler, explains, “By connecting a smartphone, we can immediately make SPHERES more intelligent. With a smartphone, the SPHERES will have a built-in camera to take pictures and video, sensors to help conduct inspections, a powerful computing unit to make calculations, and a Wi-Fi connection that we will use to transfer data in real-time to the space station and mission control.”
“Samsung is proud to have the Nexus S chosen to be aboard NASA’s final space shuttle launch, an event that is historical,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile. “The research that is being conducted with SPHERES using the Nexus S will help monitor and communicate from the International Space Station.”
Research Overview
In 1999, a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) undergraduate students, in conjunction with the Department of Defense and NASA, built five volleyball-sized free-flying satellites. These satellites are now referred to as Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reporient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) and three of them have been on the International Space Station since 2006. Each SPHERE satellite is self-contained with propulsion, power, navigation and computing equipment. When first designed, the usage possibilities of today were far from conceivable, thus an “expansion port” was built into each of the SPHERES. Additional appendages and sensors can be added to the satellites, allowing wireless power transfer systems and cameras to become parts of the systems. Nexus S is the first commercial smartphone to become a part of the SPHERES via this expansion port.
With the addition of Nexus S, it allows SPHERES a wider range of capabilities on the satellites and improved communication between the land and sky. Mission control can remotely operate Nexus S-enhanced satellites to perform relatively mundane tasks such as running inventory or environmental surveys on the space station. Thus, astronauts will be able to dedicate more time to science experiments and other work rather than having to respond to routine maintenance demands.
About Space Shuttle Atlantis
Space shuttle Atlantis will embark on a 12-day mission to the International Space Station from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STS-135 mission is the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis’ STS-135 mission will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired.
About Nexus S
Co-developed by Google and Samsung, Nexus S features brilliant Super AMOLED touch screen technology, a 4-inch Contour Display with a curved design and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology which allows information to be read off of everyday objects. The smartphone features a 5 megapixel rear facing camera and camcorders as well as a VGA front facing camera. Nexus S is powered by Android™ 2.3, the latest version of Google’s Android platform, making the smartphone not merely a telephone but a powerful mobile computer at the same time. Nexus S also has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi networking, as well as 16 GB of internal memory.

1Number one mobile phone provider in the U.S. claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics Q1 2011 U.S. Market Share Handset Shipments Reports.

Kevin Krause
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  1. Cool. Good thing it wasn’t an HTC phone, all the dust and defects would have cost the mission! :P

    1. Good thing navigation isn’t being run on a Samsung phone; had they done it, they won’t find the space station and will bounce off the atmosphere during reentry.

      1. Can we all just get along and agree that it’s a good thing it wasn’t an iphone? :)

        1. Sorry but they sent two iphones also.

          1. To do simpler tasks… ;)

            The Nexus S gets to do all the fun stuff.

      2. Not an issue with the nexus s.

        It was a big problem for my epic when it had 2.1. It would always fail and say “location temporarily unavailable”. It has worked flawlessly (a lot better than iPhones or any phone really) since updating to DK28 last year (I think).

        I get a fix in 5-10 Seconds now with 9 meters accuracy. Wait a little longer (15-30 sec) and it becomes 4 meter accuracy. If you wait another minute longer it becomes accurate to 2 meters!

      3. Well , Google Nexus S is manufactured by Samsung . So in a certain way it IS a Samsung phone ;) .

      4. good thing space ships don’t use mobile gps huh you dumb ass

      5. The Nexus S is a Samsung phone-only difference is the GPS actually works.

    2. ohh and they wouldn’t have been able to bring back many pictures cause of small internal memory. The photos would probably be shit anyway sense the camera sucks and the crappy screen wouldn’t make it any better. I wonder it the cpu and gpu are powerfull enough to their experiments.

      1. Did this guy just say a Samsung camera sux? o.O

        Kare to explain? I mean, I haven’t heard such blasphemy since Hitler said he was doing good by eradicating an entire race.

  2. cool i want a space certified phone

  3. I guess the Nexus is truly a global phone.

    1. It’s out of the world.

  4. I’m guessing they’d have to turn off screen rotation. The accelerometer wouldn’t have a clue which way is up! :P

  5. So now android makers have to resort to gimmicks like these to garner attention? Instead of working to Better the platform they do this?Please understand that this is not me flaming, just a collection of facts.So now that android is finally going to be destroyed because of the nortel patent loss, what happens next?The apple led consortium, Comprising Microsoft and RIM won the Nortel patents bid, its just a matter of time before the barrage of patent lawsuits come CRASHING down android incredibily poorly thought out and completely un-original head. That, along with Apple’s relentless pursuit to get Samsung’s poor copies of iPhones banned, which should happen quite soon, Oracle’s inevitable Blitzkrieg of patent lawsuits , Microsoft’s earnest efforts to acquire licensing fees from the infringing OEM’s which have wrongfully violated their patents, should mean that androids days as the world’s No.1 Mobile OS are numbered. The only question is that what will the future leadership look like? will it be in order of market position, iOS, WinMoPho 7, BB OS, android & WebOS or iOS, WinMoPho 7, BB OS, WebOS and android? One thing is certain, that its the end of Android OS as we know it as google will simply not be able to handle the losses accrued by it, and will either have to abandon it or change it from the base up.

    1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone troll this hard. I missed any brilliant insights you might have had about the topic at hand.

      1. Why dont you enlighten me what exactly you missed? or is it that you just cant disprove what i have written? CapnBoost? more like CapnFIZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

    2. yup another troll.

      1. just calling me a troll wont change what i have said, PROVE me wrong….

    3. Yaaaaaawn burger with a side of snore fries…..

    4. Go to any Apple blog and see how Apple is bragging about 3 iphones on this same flight dumbass.

      1. why dont you fight me on facts instead of redirecting me to a phantom location

        1. Because your a fucking idiot and it’s not worth the effort.

          1. yeah ,buddy abuse all you want, thats all your sorry ass can do :-D

    5. -10. We really need a Dislike button.

      1. This just proves that the TRUTH HURTS! Tee Hee!

    6. So… you “believe” that Apple will ban Samsung products? If that happens, Apple might lose a lot of it’s products since some of their internal hardware IS Samsung. LoL!! So I don’t really see that happening to much.

      Hmm… And what makes you think that Google actually “tried” to get their phone into space? I mean, what if that particular phone was just chosen? “”Samsung is proud to have the Nexus S chosen to be aboard NASA’s final space shuttle launch, an event that is historical,” said Dale Sohn, president of Samsung Mobile.”” Oh wait!! That exert from the article says the phone WAS chosen. LoL!!

      As far as this article goes, the FACT that this phone was chosen to go into a NASA space project, which isn’t the cheapest thing to do, means that Android is actually coming up more than you seem to know.

      Android is Linux based. Android is a developer phone and gives new jobs to random developers to jump in. The fragmentation is controlled by us users. The world is turning to computers, so we need to be able to take our computers with us. Android is helping us do that. I don’t think Android is going anywhere anytime soon.

      P.S. If Apple is copying an Android feature, the notification bar, I don’t think Android is losing out as much as you say.

      *sigh* My paragraph fun is done. Is that enough info to turn your judgement around? I mean, all that info can be found on this site, so you don’t have to look around.

      1. What is your reply about? the nexus phone going into space, the core of android, fragmentation and apple copying Samsung. basically almost NOTHING related to what i have said. So what if Samsung makes some of apple’s components? apple can DUMP Samsung’s butt in a flash and an ARMY of Taiwanese chip makers will line up.


        its not about copying some interesting little feature, its about IRRESPONSIBLY pushing an OS onto poor OEM’s(poor only in relative terms Samsung HTC are NOT poor :-) ) without doing proper research about whether that particular product may or may not create litigious situations for them. THAT’S what Google’s done. and with the Nortel loss, they have all but lost any semblance of of having a long term profitable support from OEM’s as they try to duck the Lawsuit-Storm coming their way.Apple may or may not be able to ban Samsung from entering the USA, but Samsung will eventually pay one way or another

        1. Hmm… I “thought” your post was about how Google was about to go down, so I started talking about how it isn’t. Apparently I misinterpreted that.

          And as far as that link goes, if Apple really wants to get rid of Samsung, why don’t they? It seems to me they want this lawsuit to go on forever, while they still use their products. I mean, sure any company can go to Apple, but Apple choice Samsung for a reason, because they’re good. Some random company comes along with their pathetic products, and iOS products go down. Imagine a screen that looks like the iPhone 1 on an iPhone 5. Get what I’m saying? They need Samsung. But that’s besides the point and a different story.

          Google may have lost the Nortel Patents, but that’s only because the competition wants them gone.

          And if Android does go down, some other companies are going with them. MS makes more money with HTC selling Android powered devices. If Android is taken down, then MS loses a lot of money from that. I don’t think that a lot of lawsuits are about to go down as you say. There’s just too much side money being made from Android.

          I’m not to sure where this argument just went, but I do know that this is something fun to watch. I do stand my ground though on the Android will succeed.

          1. “….but Apple choice Samsung for a reason, because they’re good…”
            On THAT i will agree with you 100 %. And its a simple fact proved by the incredible reviews of the Samsung Galaxy S2. But Apple has so much cash that it can ACTUALLY RAISE the level of a company beyond mediocrity if they are interested in it, read the following link you will get a basic idea what im talking about.


            “And if Android does go down, some other companies are going with them. MS makes more money with HTC selling Android powered devices. If Android is taken down, then MS loses a lot of money from that. I don’t think that a lot of lawsuits are about to go down as you say. There’s just too much side money being made from Android.”

            Microsoft is not concerned with some loose change coming from android, they make BILLIONS from their other products.what they want to do is basically make the whole concept of FREE OS seem meaningless to OEM’s. Once they pile on layer over layer of patent lawsuits they can say, Hey Listen You need to pay me 25 $ for the licensing over android, Or tell you what, just License WinMOPho for 20 $.So in simple terms use the patents to arm-twist OEM’s to switch over to their side. Do you see now? Yes Android will never fade away, It’s just become too big. But OEM’s abandoning it will cause it a massive blow, relegating to the ranks of WebOS.

            As far as the Nortel patents are concerned, it’s more of a crushing blow to the No1 Mobile OS than anybody of you realizes. If some random company had won , there wouldn’t be much concern for Google. But the simple fact remains that the patents have been won by their BIGGEST rivals in the mobile business, Rivals that they have brutally dethroned. Sore losers are always worse in their reprisals. That’s why, my freind, i think Google is ****ed.

            P.S. Kudos to you having a civil debate over this topic ;-)

        2. Doesn’t mean crap.. anybody can sue anybody for anything.. Any successful company is a “magnet” for lawsuits.. even Apple.

  6. the sky is falling! the sky is falling!

    1. yeah thats right make jokes…thats ALL you TEMPORARY android fans can do, cos its not like you can actually make an ARGUMENT for android, LOLLLZZ, ill be there to enjoy when you guys need a new OS to give direction tio your fan needs… ;-)

      1. Congrats on your new-found twitter Share-To integration Pranita. I could do that (as well as share to anything else an app provided) since Android 1.6

  7. And Pranita proved that Jobs vision of an iSheep army is finally coming into play. Bah sheep bah. Be herded by your masters and comply like the incompetent fools you are.

    1. whether or not i am an iSheep is a secondary question. The main question is whether you can defend the patent lawsuit magnet abomination that is goes by the name of android. Jobs may be the modern day tech equivalent of Muhammad the prophet for you, but at least he makes sure that the product is somewhat untouchable by external factors. apple has already settled with Nokia, will settle with others soon, cos that’s the way they are,they PROTECT whats to protect, What will Google do? Start the project from scratch and create another massive headache for the OHA? I’m waiting for your next super-lame put-down…if i can call it that LOLLZZ

      1. …Why do you bother? This is an Android website! Be gone foul troll!

        1. Hehe i like your style. But my idea is to see if you people are aware of the future of your favorite Ecosystem. Thats all

  8. What I have yet to understand is why this argument continues day in and day out. People. The phones do the exact same thing. They just do them differently. Shut up. Especially Pranita. Show me one thing iOS does, and I’ll show you how Android does the same fucking thing. The hardware is damn near identical now and dont forget that SAMSUNG PROCESSORS ARE POWERING YOUR LITTLE iPHONE. Second gen Android phones perform flawlessly. And if you say they dont, ur just a fucking moron or have never played around or even attempted to explore what Android offers. It’s an amazing OS that will be around forever. Android has taken over iOS, look at the numbers. There are many more Android activations PER DAY compared to iOS. AND THAT IS A FACT……JACK.

    On the other hand – iOS is nice. Very nice. But the customization cant even compare to Android. iOS was the first, it IS the trendsetter, we all know this…. but just because Google has an OS that performs just as well, if not better, you iPhone fanboys get all defensive.com about it. Smoke a joint and relax, and more importantly realize that competition creates a need for the fastest, best products. Which in the end is what makes your iPhone so enjoyable to you, and my Droid so enjoyable to me.


    1. ONCE AGAIN….another ultra-passionate android lover gets all defensive, and hot and bothered about android, instead of actually debating about what is written in my original post.Half a Million, Activation’s are go from EARNER to BURNER if the the profit margin for an OEM is rendered pointless due to having to pay licensing costs to some other company for a product the OEM THOUGHT was free and open source. How long do you think that company would stick with android?
      Heck, Everybody copies EVERYBODY, Hell If Xerox had been even 1 millionth serious about protecting their IP as apple had been today, we wouldnt have PC’s as we know it as everbody knows apple ripped of xerox BIG-TIME.But its not about that. Why are you not talking about the patent S**T-storm about to waylay android’s ass? Thats right , cos you have NOTHING tho talk about, Instead all ur left with is defensive terms like troll, Iphone fanboy, etc.and JUST so its clear to everybody, I use a BB 9900. Be Gentle ;-)

  9. Nex becomes the first phone to be certified by NASA, wow cool !!

    1. yup, right along with the iphone.

  10. Wow this guy is worse than me, A SPAMMER!

  11. I wonder what the roaming charges will be like…

  12. Let’s just say I have 12 Google+ invites to give away… :)

  13. I figured that I would waste my first post on phandroid on the tail end of a pointless string of comments that have nothing to do with the posted article. This is sure to be lost amongst the countless irrelevant line of comments made by Pranita….

    This MIGHT have been an interesting read and possible pertinent line of comments had these Apple apologists not decided to ruin yet another blog comment thread. I understand that Android is not for everyone, but why can’t we all just pick an OS that works for us and suits our needs and be done with it? Instead, we sit here and have a pissing contest as if the outcome of our discussion will lead to the other person being swayed to our cause. Pranita you are wasting your time on this site. If that’s ok with you, atleast have the decency to not waste others by posting inflammatory comments that are sure to start a flame war. There still are some rational people out there that come to an ANDROID website to discuss ANDROID and it’s capabilities. If you use iOS or W7 or BB OS just stick to a website that is geared towards your device.

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