OnQ Blog

Snapdragon processors in (near) space

Feb 4, 2014

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Qualcomm Snapdragon processors launch SnapSatOne of the more than 700 photos taken by the SnapSat.

Qualcomm® Snapdragon processors can be found pretty much anywhere – even 97,000 feet above Earth. Qualcomm Technologies engineer Gene Swiech and five University of Texas students recently sent a Snapdragon S4 Plus processor-based DragonBoard™ to near space to prove it could be done.

With Swiech’s help, the students created a CubeSat – a miniature satellite that typically uses off-the-shelf electrical components to collect data – that they dubbed “SnapSat.” The satellite was created with the powerful DragonBoard Development Kit, which includes a carrier board and system on a module (SOM).

DragonBoard is a building block for creating products incorporating the Snapdragon application processor. It’s also used for developing, testing and optimizing sensors, displays and other hardware components, embedded products.

The 10-cm-square SnapSat was launched near Phoenix, Arizona last November via a high-altitude weather balloon filled with hydrogen. Students were aided by the Arizona Near Space Research (ANSR) organization, a nonprofit that promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education through amateur radio and high-altitude balloons.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Dragonboard launched into space

The students configured the DragonBoard to collect GPS data, and the SnapSat was packaged in a Styrofoam cooler for protection. It reached 97,000 feet and survived g-forces, minus 60-degree temperatures and no atmosphere while snapping a photo every 11 seconds with the DragonBoard’s 8 MP camera. More than 700 images had been collected by the students when the SnapSat returned to Earth. You can view all of the images in sequence in this clip:

 Learn more:

*The Dragonboard is a product of Instrinsyc.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Related News

©2020 Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its affiliated companies.

References to "Qualcomm" may mean Qualcomm Incorporated, or subsidiaries or business units within the Qualcomm corporate structure, as applicable.

Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses. Qualcomm products referenced on this page are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

Materials that are as of a specific date, including but not limited to press releases, presentations, blog posts and webcasts, may have been superseded by subsequent events or disclosures.

Nothing in these materials is an offer to sell any of the components or devices referenced herein.