News+Politics January 24, 2011
Blasting A Mobile Phone Into Orbit

A team of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) workers in Guildford, UK (not Surrey, B.C... That would likely be a very different kind of experiment) want to answer one question... Can a 2011 cell phone function in the most challenging environment ever known - outer space?

They're going to blast one into orbit very soon to find out. The specific model is yet to be determined, but they know they'll be using a phone that supports a Google Android operating system.

androidinspace.jpg

The first goal is to get the phone to control a 30cm-long satellite, which will take pictures of the Earth, but the whole idea is to discover cheaper means of exploring space, lowering the overall cost of spacecraft designs.

Sure, this has been done a few times before via weather balloon, but this is the first time ever that a phone will be launched several hundred kilometres above the planet.

This is all well and good, SSTL, until your phone gets an "Out of Service" message twenty seconds after take off.

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