Home General Knowledge GK SPECIAL TOPIC : STRaND-1
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 09:56




Space researchers at the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and SSTL have developed STRaND-1, a CubeSat containing a smartphone payload that will be launched into orbit around the Earth in 2013.

STRaND-1 is a 30cm cubesat weighing 3.5kg.  At the heart of the satellite is a Google Nexus One smartphone with an Android operating system.Smartphones are highly advanced and incorporate several key features that are integral to a satellite such as cameras, radio links, accelerometers and high performance computer processors- almost everything except solar panels and propulsion.  During the first phase of the mission, STRaND-1 will use a number of experimental Apps to collect data, while a new high-speed linux-based cubesat computer developed by SSC will take care of the satellite.  During phase two, the STRaND team will switch the satellite's in-orbit operations to the smartphone, thereby testing the capabilities of a number of standard smartphone components for a space environment.

The satellite will also incorporate advanced guidance, navigation and control systems. It will also include innovative propulsion systems known as WARP DRIVE (Water Alcohol Resisto-jet Propulsion De-orbit Re-entry Velocity Experiment) which uses a water/alcohol mixture for propulsion, along with a set of Pulsed Plasma Thrusters (PPTs) that use an electric arc to vaporize a solid propellant. Finally, the STRaND-1 will include the first 3D-printed part in space.

To be put into a 785 km (488 mile) sun-synchronous orbit, the STRaND-1 is scheduled to launch from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, India on February 25 on the Indian Space Research Organisation's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

Different applications present in satellite

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 enable new graphical telemetry to interpret trends.

The 360 app 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.

About Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey

The Surrey Space Centre (SSC), a Research Centre of the Faculty of Electronics and Physical Sciences (FEPS) at the University of Surrey, is a world leading Centre of Excellence in Space Engineering, whose aim is to underpin the technical development of the space industry through its advanced research programmes. SSC, comprising over 90 researchers and faculty specializing in small satellite techniques, develops new innovative technologies which are exploited by the space industry. It provides well-focused space engineering education, postgraduate and industrial short courses, training the next generation space scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and business leaders