Science and Exploration

Smartphone Satellite STRaND-1 Operational in Orbit

By Marc Boucher
Press Release
April 4, 2013
Filed under , , ,
Smartphone Satellite STRaND-1 Operational in Orbit
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd

STRaND-1, the nanosatellite carrying a smartphone, has been declared operational in orbit by the mission team from the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).
The satellite successfully separated from the Indian PSLV launcher in low Earth orbit after its launch on 25th February, and first contact with STRaND-1 was made on its second pass over the Guildford ground station. STRaND-1 is being commissioned and operated from the Surrey Space Centre’s ground station at the University of Surrey. Initial checks have confirmed that critical systems are all functioning as expected.

Professor Craig Underwood, Deputy Director of the Surrey Space Centre said: “STRaND-1 has been an excellent project linking academia with industry and taking space engineering research through to a real mission. It’s another major space success for the UK, delivered by Surrey in an amazingly short time and we are looking forward to receiving the first data from the on-board smartphone soon.”

“The STRaND-1 team have worked incredibly hard over the past week to achieve this result”, said Doug Liddle, SSTL’s Head of Science. “The first week of commissioning a satellite is always complex but we have had fantastic support from the AMSAT community around the world, and are now commanding STRaND-1 in orbit. Setting up the ground station and establishing communications with the spacecraft has been a valuable part of the learning curve – the team feel and look like they’ve run several marathons in the last 10 days!”

The STRaND-1 mission team will continue commissioning of the satellite’s systems in orbit during the next few weeks and, after this phase has been successfully completed, phase two of the mission will see the testing of the smartphone’s experimental Apps and subsequently a number of in-orbit operations being switched over to the smartphone.

STRaND-1 is an innovative 3U CubeSat weighing 3.5kg and is the world’s first “phonesat” to go into orbit, as well as the first UK CubeSat to be launched. It was developed by a team from the University of Surrey’s Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) and is a research, training, and demonstration mission designed to test commercial off-the-shelf technologies in space. It follows on from the UK’s first nanosatellite mission, SNAP-1, also built by SSC and SSTL, 13 years ago.

Amateur radio operators can track STRaND-1 from across the world. Details of the frequency are available at

You can follow STRaND at and for more information visit

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