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First Smartphone Certified to Fly on ISS

The Intelligent Robotics Group certified the first smartphone to fly on the International Space Station (ISS) and Space Shuttle. The Smartphone is a modified Samsung Nexus S with an Android operating system. Hardware modifications include removal of the GSM chip to avoid RFI and powering the phone using six AA alkaline batteries in order to avoid complications of certifying lithium-ion batteries. The Smartphone touch-screen is covered with Teflon tape to contain glass in the event of breakage. The software is also modified to facilitate access to the mass storage device. The Smartphone launched on STS-135/ULF-7 and is now onboard the ISS.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of the Human Exploration Telerobotics (HET) project is to demonstrate and assess remote operation of advanced robots to increase productivity, reduce cost, and mitigate risk for future deep-space human exploration missions. The HET Smartphone project will explore the use of free-flying robots to augment and support crew activities. The “free flyers,” Synchronized Position, Hold, Engage, and Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) are volleyball-sized satellites with power, propulsion, computing, and navigation equipment. The Nexus S acts as an embedded computing platform and integrated sensor package since it has gyros (position), accelerometers (movement), magnetometers (compass), cameras, and microphones. For the HET Smartphone experiments, the Samsung Nexus S Smartphone has been connected to the SPHERES through a communication cable. A wireless network connection to the ISS provides the data path to the ground. The integrated SPHERES-Smartphone will be remotely operated by crew and ground controllers to perform such tasks as visual inspections, surveys, crew interviews, and mobile sensor readings (e.g., RFID, noise dosimeter).


TEAM: Terry Fong, Mark Micire, Eric Park, Chris Provencher, Vinh To, DW Wheeler, and Tim Kennedy (JSC)

COLLABORATORS: Chris Barreras, Andres Martinez, and Steve Ormsby

Contact: Chris Provencher

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