Bell (satellite)


Mission typeTechnology
COSPAR ID2013-016D
SATCAT no.39145
Mission duration2 weeks
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft type1U CubeSat
Spaceflight Services
Launch mass0.5 kilograms (1.1 lb)
Start of mission
Launch date21 April 2013, 21:00 (2013-04-21UTC21Z) UTC
RocketAntares 110 A-ONE
Launch siteMARS LP-0A
ContractorOrbital Sciences
End of mission
Decay date27 April 2013 (2013-04-28)[1]
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Inclination51.6266 degrees[2]

Bell, also known as PhoneSat 1.0b or PhoneSat v1b was 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 to be launched.

A PhoneSat-1.0 satellite, Bell was built to the single-unit (1U) CubeSat specification, and measures 10 centimetres (3.9 in) in each dimension. The satellite is based on an off-the-shelf HTC Nexus One smartphone which serves in place of an onboard computer and avionics system. Unlike the more advanced PhoneSat-2.0 spacecraft, Bell is powered by non-rechargeable batteries, and has no attitude control system, however onboard sensors can be used to determine and monitor the satellite's attitude.[3] The cameras built into the phones aboard Bell and its sister satellite Graham have been used to return images of the Earth from space.[4]

Unlike Graham, Bell has an external Iridium modem attached to one of its side. Independent battery can supply power for the modem for 2–3 days.

Bell was named after Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone. The two other PhoneSat spacecraft launched aboard the same rocket were named Alexander and Graham.[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

On 27 April 2013 the satellite was confirmed to have burned up in the atmosphere, with instruments still running up until then.[citation needed]


  1. ^ No data from NORAD/NSSDC, decayed 2013-04-27, according to PhoneSat team, "Our orbital analysis indicates that the PhoneSats have deorbited on April 27 and have burned up in Earth's atmosphere as predicted. "
  2. ^ "Orbital Elements". NASA. 23 April 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "PhoneSat Flight Demonstrations - NASA's Smartphone Nanosatellite". NASA. 16 February 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b "Packet Description". NASA. 23 April 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "PhoneSat-1 and -2 missions on Antares rocket maiden flight". eoPortal Directory. European Space Agency. Retrieved 23 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ Graham, William (21 April 2013). "Antares conducts a flawless maiden launch". Retrieved 22 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Spaceflight Successfully Deploys Five Spacecraft Launched by Two Launch Vehicles from Two Continents". Spaceflight Services. 21 April 2013. Archived from the original on 21 June 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)