Author Topic: Mobile phone to blast into orbit  (Read 22409 times)

Offline bolun

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Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« on: 01/24/2011 07:10 PM »
24 January 2011

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12253228

Quote

British engineers are planning to put a mobile phone in space.

The team at SSTL and the Surrey Space Centre in Guildford want to see if the sophisticated capabilities in today's phones will function in the most challenging environment known.

The mobile will run on Google's Android operating system but the exact model has not yet been disclosed.

It will be used to control a 30cm-long satellite and take pictures of the Earth in the mission later this year.


and

http://www.sstl.co.uk/news-and-events?story=1706
« Last Edit: 01/24/2011 08:21 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #1 on: 01/31/2011 02:34 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12311286

Quote
In the same week as we discovered that UK growth rates are significantly worse than expected, a small company based in Guildford announced plans to put a mobile-phone powered satellite into orbit.

Set against the challenge of not just re-balancing, but re-building our economy, sending a phone into space seems like a piece of technological whimsy.

It could, however, be interpreted as something rather more important: a sign that if we are seeking economic inspiration, we could do worse than look to the skies.

The one ray of light amidst the gloom of the latest growth figures was the robustness of the UK's manufacturing sector.

Accounting for some 12% of all economic output, it has been growing at its fastest rate for 16 years.

We are not about to return to an age when Britain was the workshop of the world, of course.

But there are future-friendly industries where we can and do lead. Chief amongst these is space.

Over the past decade, our domestic space business, which is focussed mainly on telecommunications satellites, has grown at about 10% per year. In other words, at the same rate as China.

With global demand for information and connectivity growing rapidly, its not hard to see a buoyant future for this sector.

However, the ambition of our space sector goes much further, and here there may be inspiration and opportunities for other parts of UK Plc.

Quote
The question for governments over the decades has often boiled down to "make or buy".

Making means earnings - from sales, intellectual property and education.

Buying means exporting wealth and we must recognise that in years to come, going this route will make the UK a less important global customer, less able to negotiate the best terms, and this will accelerate the downward economic spiral.

To avoid this, we must learn to value what we create.

We must overcome an institutional fear of failure and short-term focus, whereby investors write their exit strategy first and support plan second.

Equally, we should stop bashing the bankers. Engineering and the City can and must work together................

Quote
And what of the phone in space?

It is a test project, lead by young engineers working for Surrey Satellites, a hugely successful spin-out from The University of Surrey.

In their quest to make small-scale satellites ever more accessible and capable, the company has invested its own time and money in an experiment combining engineering know-how with lateral thinking and an entrepreneurial wiliness to take a chance.

These examples from space show that Britain need not set, as the upper limit of its aspiration, the goal of merely surviving the next decade.

We can grow and even lead, if we capitalise on our evident strengths in innovation, manufacturing and, yes, finance.
« Last Edit: 01/31/2011 02:35 PM by bolun »

Offline bolun

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #2 on: 08/02/2011 04:45 PM »
Satellite innovators launch smartphone Space App competition

1 Aug 2011

Surrey experts in space technology have today launched a Facebook competition challenging the British public to develop innovative applications that will run on its smartphone-powered satellite due for launch into space next year.

STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator) weighs just 4kg and is a collaborative effort between engineers at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and University of Surrey researchers. It is being built in their free time to test innovative ideas for lower cost space missions.

In the spirit of the mission, the four most creative, novel and fun ’App’ ideas will be selected to fly on the Android phone inside STRaND-1. Winners will be invited to STRaND’s Mission Control to observe their app on the nanosatellite as it orbits Earth.

More information can be found on the SSTL website.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/news-and-events/2011/Aug/satellite-innovators-launch-smartphone-space-app-competition

Offline bolun

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #3 on: 10/13/2011 01:32 PM »

The winners of the Space App competition have been announced!

There are four winners, who will see their Android Applications run on STRaND-1, due for launch into space next year.

The winning apps make use of the technology of the Android smartphone, including the microphone, speakers, camera and display in conjunction with the satellite's conventional features - enabling STRaND-1 to do things in space that no-one has done before.
 
The winning apps

iTesa will record the magnitude of the magnetic field around the phone during orbit.  Used as a precursor to further scientific studies, such as detecting Alfven waves (magnetic oscillations in our upper atmosphere), the iTEsa app could provide proof of principle.

The STRAND Data app will show satellite telemetry on the smartphone's display which can be imaged by an additional camera on-board.  This will enabe new graphical telemetry to interpret trends.

Postcards from Space and 360 are joint winners, using an app that will take images using the smartphone's camera and use the technology onboard the spacecraft to establish STRaND-1's position.  The public will be able to request their own unique satellite image of Earth through a website, where images can be seen on a map showing where they have been acquired.

The Scream in Space app will make full use of the smartphone's speakers.  Testing the theory 'in space no-one can hear you scream, made popular in the 1979 film 'Alien', the app will allow the public to upload videos of themselves screaming in a creative way to an allocated website.  The most popular videos will be played on the phone while in orbit and the scream recorded using the smartphone's microphone.
 
For more information visit www.facebook.com/nanosats

http://www.sstl.co.uk/divisions/earth-observation-science/science-missions/strand-nanosatellite

and

http://www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency/news-and-events/2011/Oct/winners-of-space-app-competition-announced
« Last Edit: 10/13/2011 03:59 PM by bolun »

Offline peter-b

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #4 on: 10/13/2011 09:19 PM »
I am a researcher at Surrey Space Centre, where this project is based. If anyone has any questions for the team, I can pass them on.
Research Scientist (Sensors), Sharp Laboratories of Europe, UK

Offline Nomadd

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #5 on: 10/14/2011 11:31 AM »
 Speaking of cellphones in space, in building things like that cubesat for high vibration and acceleration environments, I've found the iphone with vibration measuring apps to be remarkably accurate in three axis frequency and G readings. Saves a bundle in test equipment when I need to decide if something will survive a certain degree of abuse.
 It also gives me a reason to conduct that most entertaining of excercise, testing to failure.

 -Hint of the day- Don't subject an iphone to 3gs at 33hz side to side motion.

Offline Comga

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #6 on: 10/25/2011 03:09 PM »
I am a researcher at Surrey Space Centre, where this project is based. If anyone has any questions for the team, I can pass them on.

Can you say anything about the "Pulsed Plasma Thrusters"?  Impulse, mass, drive power, lifetime, even purpose (rendezvous maneuvering or momentum wheel desaturation)?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #7 on: 10/25/2011 04:27 PM »
I am a researcher at Surrey Space Centre, where this project is based. If anyone has any questions for the team, I can pass them on.

Can you say anything about the "Pulsed Plasma Thrusters"?  Impulse, mass, drive power, lifetime, even purpose (rendezvous maneuvering or momentum wheel desaturation)?

Hello,

I'm the lead engineer working on the STRaND PPTs. The Impulse was measured with University of Stuttgarts Impulse balance to be 5.39uNs +/-3.54uNs. In total 10 measurements were made, 3 measurements had to be discarded, 3 measurements gave large discrepencies (leading to a significant standard deviation) and 4 measurments were around the 5.4uNs range. Experiments were taken over 5 days (of which 4 days were problem solving various issues) hence the low number of total measurements. If i get the oppertunity again i'd love to redo these.

The STRaND PPT's don't use nominal Teflon propellant as seen in many other PPTs. They infact errode the electrodes (much like the a Vacuum Arc Thruster) but still primarily use the Lorentz force coupling between the magnetic field setup created by the flow of current through the electrodes and the flowing current through the created plasma. The mass loss over around 200 discharges before and after each experiment was found on average to be 0.41ug +/- 0.25ug per discharge leading to a specific impluse of around 1340s.

The two 0.38uF ceramic chip capacitors (to give a total of 0.76uF per thruster) are charged by a set of EMCO voltage multipliers. The input to the multipliers are a 5V line limited by a current limiter to 0.3A for a total power input of 1.5W. The PPTs are charged to around 800V.

The lifetime of the technology demonstrator STRaND mission is 3-6 months with anything on top of that being a bonus so the lifetime of PPTs are not critical. This module on STRaND is more for Technology demonstration for our future CubeSat applications. However if the PPTs can be shown not to interfere with the electronics and workings of the rest of the satellite then they are hoped to be used for precision pointing and rendezvous maneuvers.

Saying that the components have been rated to 1 million pulses, however this is based on what the manufactuers of each component have told us rather than system life testing. This is still to be TBD. One thing which needs to be realised is that the STRaND mission is done by volunteers in there free time, as such not everything we would like to do can be done with the various resources that we have.

The eventual application is to have a series of 10 CubeSat satellites come together in space to make a telescope aperature. This is the basis of the Surrey Space Centre AArest program.

Hope these answer your questions. Feel free to get in touch if you have any more questions.

Have fun

Pete Shaw

p.s. i have attached a picture of the thruster firing, captured with a long exposure. The actual pulse only lasts for a few micrseconds.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #8 on: 10/25/2011 05:36 PM »
Welcome to the site's forum Pete! :)

Offline Space Pete

Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #9 on: 10/25/2011 05:43 PM »
Hold on, there's far too many Pete's round here. ;D

I think that is possibly the best first post ever. Welcome to the forum!
NASASpaceflight ISS Editor

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #10 on: 10/26/2011 10:02 AM »
Cheers and Thank you

Have fun

Pete

Offline Comga

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #11 on: 10/26/2011 05:09 PM »
Thank you, PPT Pete!  That is a very thorough description, possibly the best first post I have ever seen.
Best of luck with your hardware.

At this rate we can never have too many "Pete"s. :-)
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline knotnic

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #12 on: 10/27/2011 02:04 PM »
Pete, thanks for the detailed info.  Can you give an idea of the scale of what we're seeing in the image?

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #13 on: 10/27/2011 02:32 PM »
The photo is a side on profile of the PPT discharging when it is not in its Ultem housing casing (as it would be in the Flight hardware). The distance between the electrodes is 10mm, the width of each electrode blade is 5mm and the thickness (not seen) is 0.5 mm. The length of the electrodes are 25mm in length.

The bright spot of light at the top of the image is a Unison ignitor (spark plug) which is used to initiate the discharge.

I've attached a couple of more pictures of the PPT discharging from different angles...

Have fun

Pete

p.s. I quite like the below attached picture as you can see the streaking effect of the macroparticles coming from the ignitor, and look carefully as you can see some of them bent due to the interation with the magnetic fields i believe.
« Last Edit: 10/27/2011 02:44 PM by PPT Pete »

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #14 on: 10/27/2011 02:32 PM »

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #15 on: 10/27/2011 02:33 PM »

Offline Comga

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #16 on: 10/27/2011 03:14 PM »
That makes the geometry perfectly clear.

In which directions are the magnetic field and the thrust, say in the illuminated top_down image?
What kind of wastrels would dump a perfectly good booster in the ocean after just one use?

Offline PPT Pete

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #17 on: 10/27/2011 03:46 PM »
The thrust would be heading towards the bottom of the picture. The magnetic fields would be 'co-centric'-ish around the electrodes meaning from the pictures point of view the magnetic field would be pointing 'into' the picture (between the space of the electrodes), when the current flows from the right electrode to the left.

When the Current reverses in the oscillating LCR circuit, the force would still be towards the bottom of the page as the current moves from the left electrode to the right electrode because the magnetic field has switched orientation and is now coming 'out of' the picture (between the space of the electrodes).

All of the above is classic Lorentz force principles using the right hand rule.

... However the above classic theory (in relation to PPT operation and dynamics) is under review by some of us studying these PPTs. It gets a little more complicated and the questions we are trying to answer is... is the thrust produced because of the classic Lorentz force coupling or is it due to the multiply charged ion errosion of the electrodes being bent within the very strong magnetic fields and expelled out of the nozzle. Or is it a combination of the two...?!?

Like most things the more we study the more questions we have. The PPT is the oldest of the EP thruster family, it is the simplest to mechanically build but by far it is probably the most complex to fully understand (IMO).

Anywho hope this answers your questions.

Have fun

Pete

Offline peter-b

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #18 on: 11/10/2011 03:20 PM »
I'll just leave this here. :-)

Edit: Thanks to Dr. Chris Bridges for providing this poster for y'all!
« Last Edit: 11/10/2011 03:25 PM by peter-b »
Research Scientist (Sensors), Sharp Laboratories of Europe, UK

Offline bolun

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Re: Mobile phone to blast into orbit
« Reply #19 on: 05/29/2012 08:24 PM »
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18250755

Quote
The first Strand cubesat currently in development will incorporate a Google Nexus One Android phone. It should launch later this year.

The satellite-borne phone will map the Earth with its 5 megapixel camera and conduct a number of scientific and engineering experiments, the most significant of which will be to hand total control of the spacecraft over to the Nexus. That's never been done before.

Quote
One of its experiments is called "Scream in Space" and was suggested by Cambridge University students.

This will see the Nexus phone play videos of people screaming to test the famous Alien movie poster statement: "In space, no-one can hear you scream".

In a vacuum, this is certainly true… but probably only up to a point. It's quite likely the phone's microphone will sense a scream emitted from its speakers if only because they're connected to each other on the same candy bar structure.

"This is all about finding out whether these newer electronics are suitable for use in space. The way we'll know is if we fly them," says Kenyon.

"They may not perform well. There are radiation issues, and there are temperature issues to contend with.

"There are also power constraints: when your mobile phone runs out of juice, it's easy enough to re-charge it; but in space you're dependent on the solar panels and you cannot be constantly re-charging. The power has to be managed. But that said, the electronics found in consumer devices are incredibly powerful and very, very cheap. If we can show these new chips are useful in space, that's very good for our future technology development."

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