WP Central

Scientists from the University of Southampton took to the clouds, and beyond, with a Lumia 800. The Windows Phone (attached to a balloon) flew into the stratosphere as a tool to help create balloon flight trajectory prediction software that can then be used to guide future missions, such as weather balloons.

The ASTRA project (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) investigates new technologies that can be used to make low cost parameter observations of the atmosphere. Stephen Johnston and András Sóbester from the ASTRA project chose the Nokia Lumia 800 for the ASTRA 10 series of flights.

"We knew the Lumia was very robust. With other phones we’ve had to include an extra battery and a heater. We didn’t need to do that with the Lumia – it was the best. It still had data connectivity at 8km above the earth, it’s definitely got a good aerial in there."

A suitable device is required to be light enough to ascend to heights of 32km above the earth, robust enough to survive in temperatures of -70C with atmospheric pressure a thousand times lower than on the ground, and be able to use GPS (and beam the data to the ground teams), log data by recording measurements taken by connected instruments, as well as snapping a few photos. The Lumia 800 really is a sturdy ol' chap!

The Windows Phone reached altitudes of 105,000 feet and survived temperatures of -61C, while remaining airborne for 2 hours and 22 minutes. It finally landed in Cornwall. As many fans would say; the Lumia 800 really is out of this world. There's an available archive of photos from the venture in the Nokia Conversations article.

Source: Nokia Conversations; thanks Gopalan for the tip!