Mike Safyan is an amateur radio operator KJ6MVL who works at NASA. In this talk from the 2011 ARRL/TAPR DCC in Baltimore, Mike describes the PhoneSat project, whose goal is to produce a functioning satellite module for under $10,000. Picture a Nexus Android phone, Arduino and RF transmitter inside a 10cc standard flight-safe housing cube sent into space. The project uses the phone’s sensors and camera with the data stored on an SD card. A one-way 440 MHz radio data downlink is also provided, and the integrated Arduino board performs watchdog/Lazarus duties.
Mike has tested the PhoneSat so far on a near space balloon and a small rocket with positive results. The next stage is planning for a full cube-sat launch.
You can read more about the PhoneSat project at the NASA open government page.