The British-built STRaND-1 will use the commercially available smartphone camera to take pictures of the Earth and the Moon.

Researchers at the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) in the UK have developed the STRaND-1 (Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Demonstrator). This nanosatellite will be controlled by an everyday, unmodified Nexus one phone and will soon be launched into orbit around the Earth.

BBC News reports that the satellite will complete a six-month mission, with the Nexus One pressed against a side panel to allow its 5-megapixel camera to take pictures of the Earth and the Moon. The STRaND-1 was sent to India this week for a rocket launch that is due to take place at the end of the month.

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