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NASA PhoneSat returns photos from orbit, reminds us of streaming circa 1998

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The launch of NASA's PhoneSat mission last year was loaded with promise: finally, proof that mobile technology could power nanosatellites and stick it to The Man. The photos have returned, and... well, Lockheed won't be scrapping its big satellites just yet. While we're impressed that the Nexus Ones onboard the three PhoneSats delivered images from orbit through amateur radio waves, the transmission artifacts are more like those from 15-year-old online videos than what we see on the ground today. Don't think that the effort was in vain, however -- far from it. While the inaugural PhoneSats have burned up in reentry, as expected, future iterations should build on the experience and make a better case for small-scale spacecraft.

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