The idea of basing a
satellite on a smartphone wouldn't be possible without advances made in
smartphones over the past few years, Frost noted. "We've driven consumer
electronics to the point where they are just amazingly capable little
devices and ridiculously affordable for what they can do," he said.
has been at the forefront of aerospace technology for more than 25
years. He joined the Army/NASA joint rotorcraft division in 1997. In in
years at NASA, both electronics and spacecraft technology have come a
"I'm part of the generation that first started to get
their hands on the first computers," Frost said. He added that some of
the earliest projects he worked on as an engineer still used analog
control systems. The fundamental revolution, he said, beginning with
Apollo, was the move to digital flight control.
of the digital revolution is "flying these smartphones and other systems
that have amazing computational power, ridiculously low power consumer,
and are insanely inexpensive," Frost said. A swarm of advanced and affordable nanosatellites for a coordinated science mission demonstration.
"I see the revolution
in electronics as being the thing that has most fundamentally
transformed what we can do and what we will be able to do in the
future," Frost said. "There are other things coming along that will be
very exciting and powerful, but I don't know that they will dominate the
landscape the way microelectronics can."