Jan 24th, 2011

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!]