The three smartphone satellites sent into space Sunday by the maiden flight of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket are operating normally in orbit, the US space agency NASA said.
Transmissions from all the three PhoneSats, believed to be the lowest-cost satellites ever put in space, have been received at multiple ground stations on the Earth, said NASA in a statement Monday.
The satellites are expected to remain in orbit for as long as two weeks, while the PhoneSat team at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California will continue to monitor them in the coming days, reported Xinhua citing NASA.
"Smartphones offer a wealth of potential capabilities for flying small, low-cost, powerful satellites for atmospheric or Earth science, communications, or other space-born applications," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator for space technology in Washington. "They also may open space to a whole new generation of commercial, academic and citizen-space users."
Satellites consisting mainly of the smartphones will send information about their health via radio back to the Earth in an effort to demonstrate that they can work as satellites in space. The spacecraft also will attempt to take pictures of the Earth using their
Amateur radio operators around the world can participate in the mission by monitoring transmissions and retrieving image data from the three satellites. Large images will be transmitted in small chunks and will be reconstructed through a distributed ground station network, said NASA.