On July 2, IRG conducted its second on-orbit test with the Nexus S smartphone. This test exercised the communication path from the phone on ISS to Johnson Space Center, in preparation for a future demonstration of remote control of a SPHERES robot on the ISS by an operator at JSC.
For this first communications test, the phone sent live video from the ISS to JSC, and the ground sent and received short ping-like packets. The phone transmitted data via wifi to an ISS laptop, and the laptop sent the data over the standard Ku band satellite link to JSC.
During the test, we encountered such hiccups as a regularly-scheduled LOS (loss of signal, when the ISS is not in communication with the ground) and a router failing on the ISS. We recovered and were able to reach our goal of ten minutes of communication. The lessons we learned in this test will serve us well during our next on-orbit test, which will happen no earlier than the end of October.