Pulse

By GCN Staff

Blog archive
Image of Earth pieced together from data transmitted from NASA PhoneSats

NASA's PhoneSats send travel pics to fans on Earth

On April 21, NASA sent three PhoneSats -- Alexander, Graham and Bell – into orbit to test the feasibility of small, inexpensive satellites assembled from off the shelf components. For the week the miniature satellites were in orbit, they transmitted health data (battery levels, temperatures, magnetometer sensors, accelerometer sensors) and used their cameras to take pictures of Earth. The PhoneSats then used a UHF radio beacon to transmit data and images via bit-encoded packets to multiple ground stations.

Each of the picture packets carried a piece of the larger image. As the data became available, NASA invited ham radio operators to help piece together larger photos from the data packets using PhoneSat’s decoder. As packets were decoded radio operators then uploaded them to the PhoneSat website.

On the second day of the mission, Bell and Graham took 100 pictures and transmitted .webp images  that were then converted into .png files using Google’s webp converter. The  Webp formatted images, according to Google, are smaller (file size) and richer images than  .jpg or .png files.

"Three days into the mission we already had received more than 300 data packets," said Alberto Guillen Salas, an engineer at Ames and a member of the PhoneSat team. "About 200 of the data packets were contributed by the global community and the remaining packets were received from members of our team with the help of the Ames Amateur Radio Club station, NA6MF.”

NASA researchers working with ham radio operators demonstrated "citizen science," NASA officials, said, crowd-sourced science research conducted in whole or in part by amateur or nonprofessional scientists, NASA officials said.

According to NASA, the PhoneSats “deorbited” on April 27 and burned up in Earth's atmosphere as predicted.

Posted by Susan Miller on May 06, 2013 at 9:39 AM


Featured

  • Cybersecurity
    CISA chief Chris Krebs disusses the future of the agency at Auburn University Aug. 22 2019

    Shared services and the future of CISA

    Chris Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at DHS, said that many federal agencies will be outsourcing cyber to a shared service provider in the future.

  • Telecom
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA softens line on looming EIS due date

    Think of the September deadline for agencies to award contracts under the General Services Administration's $50-billion telecommunications contract as a "yellow light," said GSA's telecom services director.

  • Defense
    Shutterstock photo id 669226093 By Gorodenkoff

    IC looks to stand up a new enterprise IT program office

    The intelligence community wants to stand up a new program executive office to help develop new IT capabilities.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.