**Challenge Description** This challenge is a chance to be a part of kick-starting the public’s access to space. PhoneSat is a low-cost Cubesat using a Google Nexus Smartphone running the open source Android platform as the main processor. Our challenge for you is to create an Android App that utilizes PhoneSat’s capabilities.
The App that you create should be designed to run during a dedicated mission phase lasting approximately one orbit (90 minutes); you could choose to use any portion or all of this time. During this phase you would have access to all of the phone sensors: magnetometer, gyroscope, and accelerometer in addition to the PhoneSat sensors and controls: thermometer, reaction wheels, magnetorquer boards, and solar panel current. You could also utilize any of PhoneSat’s existing capabilities (see below). For access to the PhoneSat sensors and capabilities, simply leave a comment line and the PhoneSat wrapping software does the rest.
You can submit any App that meets the technical requirements identified above. But, NASA is particularly interested in the following Apps:
1. **Star Tracker App.** Use the phone’s camera to take pictures of the stars and, in an automated way, determine the direction that the camera is facing based on the star field. This would greatly improve the accuracy of the attitude determination and control system providing a platform for a wider variety of experiments.
2. **Fire Locator App.** Use the phone’s camera to take pictures of the earth and then search for fires (probably based on the smoke trails). This could serve as an aid in natural disaster determination and relief.
3. **Attitude Determination App**. Use the magnetometers, sun sensors (solar arrays), accelerometers, and rate gyros to determine the satellite’s attitude state. Aim for +-1 deg per rotational axis.
4. **3-Axis Control App. ** Use the magnetorquers and/or reaction wheels to demonstrate 3-axis control. Aim for +-5 deg per rotational axis.
5. **Radiation Monitor App.** Use the phone’s camera to monitor radiation.
6. **Single Event Upset (SEU) Detector App.** Known in computing as a Soft Error, an SEU detector App would increase the PhoneSat systems’ reliability.
**PhoneSat Capabilities** PhoneSat has the following primary capabilities that you could utilize: 3-axis attitude determination and control, Microhard MHX2420 transceiver, and a camera. The phone communicates with the satellite’s systems via a serial port.
**Application Environment** Your model testing environment will be in space so there are a few environmental conditions to consider. These conditions will alter the performance of PhoneSat’s sensors. Half of your testing orbit will be in eclipse, which will be responsible for a thermal cycle. Atmospheric drag will be the primary source of attitude disturbance. The Earth’s magnetic field at the orbit altitude would have a similar magnitude to that at sea level. Finally, the satellite may be tumbling with the determination of an approximate attitude.
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- NASA Ames Research Center/Jasper Wolfe