Alexander (satellite)

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Mission type Technology
Operator NASA
COSPAR ID 2013-016C
SATCAT № 39144
Mission duration 1 week
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type 1U CubeSat
Bus PhoneSat-2.0
Manufacturer NASA
Spaceflight Services
Launch mass 0.5 kilograms (1.1 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date 21 April 2013, 21:00 (2013-04-21UTC21Z) UTC
Rocket Antares 110 A-ONE
Launch site MARS LP-0A
Contractor Orbital Sciences
End of mission
Decay date 27 April 2013 (2013-04-28)
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Low Earth
Inclination 51.6264 degrees[1]

Alexander, also known as PhoneSat 2.0 Beta or PhoneSat v2a is a technology demonstration satellite operated by NASA's Ames Research Center, which was launched in April 2013. Part of the PhoneSat programme, it was one of the first three PhoneSat spacecraft, and the first Phonesat-2.0 satellite, to be launched.

A PhoneSat-2.0 satellite, Alexander was built to the single-unit (1U) CubeSat specification, and measures 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in each dimension. The satellite is based around an off-the-shelf Samsung Electronics Nexus S smartphone which serves in place of an onboard computer. The satellite is equipped with a two-way S-band transponder and solar panels for power generation. The spacecraft uses the phone's gyroscopes, along with a GPS receiver, to determine its position and orientation, and a system of reaction wheels and magnetorquer coils for attitude control.[2]

Alexander was named after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. The two other PhoneSat spacecraft launched aboard the same rocket were named Graham and Bell.[1] The three PhoneSat spacecraft, along with the commercial Dove 1 satellite, were launched as secondary payloads aboard the maiden flight of the Antares carrier rocket; flight A-ONE. The primary payload was the Cygnus Mass Simulator.[3]

Liftoff occurred at 21:00 UTC on 21 April 2013, from Pad 0A of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, following attempts on 17 and 20 April which had been scrubbed due to an umbilical problem and high-level winds respectively.[4] The launch was conducted by Orbital Sciences Corporation, however the CubeSats were launched under a contract with Spaceflight Services, using dispensers produced by ISIS. Alexander, Graham and Bell were deployed from a single ISIPod dispenser, while Dove 1 was deployed from a second such dispenser.[5] On 27 April 2013 the satellite was confirmed to have burned up in the atmosphere, with instruments still running up until then.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Orbital Elements". NASA. 23 April 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  2. ^ "PhoneSat Flight Demonstrations - NASA's Smartphone Nanosatellite". NASA. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  3. ^ "PhoneSat-1 and -2 missions on Antares rocket maiden flight". eoPortal Directory. European Space Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Graham, William (21 April 2013). "Antares conducts a flawless maiden launch". Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  5. ^ "Spaceflight Successfully Deploys Five Spacecraft Launched by Two Launch Vehicles from Two Continents". Spaceflight Services. 21 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Smartphone satellites beam down pictures from space". Gizmag. 5 May 2013. Retrieved 2 December 2013.