iPhone Flies In Space

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW for short) is carrying the story of Space Odyssey Research’s efforts to put the power of Apple’s mobile devices in the hands of astronauts. Space Odyssey developed and released SpaceLab for iOS, for scientific payloads and experimentation in space. Now it is available for download on Apple’s AppStore to offer a simulated experience to users on the ground.

Venture Beat is carrying a more in-depth story about Space Odyssey’s efforts, in cooperation with NanoRacks, to put two iPhones on the final Shuttle mission, STS-135.

SpaceLab’s two iPhone’s will carry out four experiments:

  • A “limb tracker,” which lets astronauts take a picture of the Earth’s limb (its curved edge). The app then estimates the iPhone’s altitude.
  • A sensor calibration tool that uses camera images plus multiple sensors to calibrate the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometers.
  • Latitude and longitude estimation using photos of the Earth and matching them to wireframes of coastlines.
  • A test to see if space radiation affects computer memory by watching for unintended changes to single bits in the iPhones’ RAM.

Venture Beat notes that the iPhones will be put in “Airplane Mode” prior to lift-off.
Nanoracks spacelab iphone

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