Space shuttle Atlantis carries some curious cargo: two iPhones
Space, the final frontier. These are smart phones of the space shuttle Atlantis. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new apps and to boldly go where no iPhone has gone before.
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The iPhone already connects people worldwide via e-mail, Words With Friends, and Twitter. But the new SpaceLab app for iOS extends the iPhone's reach into a brand new world, or rather out of this world.
The app, developed by Odyssey Space Research, is en route to the International Space Station aboard the Atlantis. These first space-bound iPhones are destined for the ISS as part of Mission STS-135, the last flight of NASA’s 30-year-long Space Shuttle program.
“The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices,” says Odyssey CEO Brian Rishikof in a press release. “The potential for using iPhone 4 to both conduct and support in-space research and operations is enormous.”
A team of two from Odyssey, a spacecraft engineering, analysis, and research company based in Houston, designed the app specifically for the iPhone 4’s cutting-edge capabilities including the three-axis gyro, accelerometer, Retina display, cameras, and A4 processor.
This technology will be used to conduct four experiments:
- Limb tracker experiment will measure the distance and exact location of the iPhone in relation to the Earth’s center.
- Sensor cal, which calibrates the three-axis gyro and accelerometer to make subsequent measurements more accurate.
- State acquisition, which calculates the longitude and latitude of the spacecraft multiple times to predict the spacecraft’s path of orbit.
- Lifecycle Flight Instrumentation will monitor and categorize how radiation affects the iPhone.