iPhone 4 to Launch Aboard Final Shuttle Mission

Two iPhone 4 smartphones loaded with software to help perform experiments in space will be headed toward the International Space Station (ISS) aboard Atlantis on the final flight of the space shuttle program.

The app is called SpaceLab for iOS and was designed by Odyssey Space Research. It contains four step-by-step instruction programs to help STS-135 mission crew members perform experiments in space and aboard the orbital laboratory.

“The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices,” Brian Rishikof, Odyssey’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

“The potential for using iPhone 4 to both conduct and support in-space research and operations is enormous. The opportunity to make the experience accessible to anyone via the App Store will attract a new generation of space supporters,” Rishikof said.


[Read also "The Most Memorable Space Shuttle Missions."]


While intended for space use, a version of the app is available now for 99 cents in the Apple App Store that will simulate the experience for users on the ground.

The first program, called Limb Tracker, is a navigation experiment that involves taking photographs of Earth and matching an arc to the horizon. Limb Tracker is designed to yield an estimate of altitude and the “off axis” angle, which is a measurement of the angle of the image with respect to Earth’s center.

Sensor Cal is another program that will use a series of photos of a reference image to help calibrate sensors on board the space station.

State Acq, short for State Acquisition, is a navigation experiment that uses a series of photos of Earth, combined with information from the iPhone’s three-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, to estimate the spacecraft’s latitude and longitude. The position estimation is calculated by manipulating and matching a wireframe overlay of the Earth’s coastlines with the images. Performing multiple sequences, separated by a known amount of time, can permit estimation of the spacecraft’s orbit parameters.

Finally, the LFI program, short for Lifecycle Flight Instrumentation, will characterize the effects of radiation on the device by monitoring certain areas of memory for Single Bit Upsets – an unintended change in value of a memory location caused by exposure to radiation.

Apple’s popular smartphone has been certified for spaceflight, and both iPhone 4s will remain on the ISS for several months while the experiments are performed.

When the experiments are completed, both iPhones will be returned to Earth. The first opportunity for return will be on a Russian Soyuz in fall 2011. Flight data from the experiments are expected to be collected, analyzed, and then shared via this app on the App Store.


RELATED CONTENT:


LEAVE A REPLY
Name*
Email* (will not be published)
Website
*Indicates required field
Comments*
Submit Comments

FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE