iPhone 4 Is Headed To Space On Final Space Shuttle Mission

iPhone 4 Is Headed To Space On Final Space Shuttle Mission

A pair of iPhone 4s running an experimental science app are heading for the International Space Station next month, it was just announced at Apple’s WWDC.

Two iPhone 4s certified for space travel will be on board Space Shuttle Atlantis, the shuttle fleet’s historic final mission, STS-135.

Due to take off from Cape Canaveral on July 8 the iPhone 4s will be running the SpaceLab for iOS app from Odyssey Space Research, which will be used for space research. They will remain on the ISS for several months for the crew to conduct a series of experiments.

Among other things, the app will help ISS astronauts find their relative position is space by matching pictures of the Earth taken with the iPhone’s camera to a database of coastline maps in the app.

A $0.99 “terrestrial” version of SpaceLab for iOS app is available today from the App Store. According to the company: “Flight data from the experiments are expected to be collected, analyzed, and then shared via this app on the App Store.”

  • Chris Oaten

    “Hey, what is that down there? Australia?” 

    “No, no… I think that might be, er… Madagascar.”

    “You’re just guessing, aren’t you? Better get that iPhone out, bro. Find out where the hell we are. I mean, I can recognise the USA but hell, they didn’t tell us there were other countries out there. Who knew?”

    Seriously, all that positioning technology on board and they’re going to test an app that matches coastline patterns? The mind boggles.

  • Edgar Rios

    how will the accelerometer/gyroscope work? :O!

  • Todd Palino

    And moving forwards, why use thousands of dollars worth of positioning technology on future vehicles or satellites if you can do the same thing with a camera and a cheap app that matches coastline patterns?

    It’s all about looking for better ways of doing things.

  • 300AShareMakesMeSmile

    It’s true they have the million dollar global positioning equipment on board, but now they’re using something that fits in the palm of their hand, “just works” and costs next to nothing.  The awesome and versatile iPhone.  Android need not apply.  Eventually the entire space station will be controlled by a single iPad.

  • Robert Norris Hills

    Rolf – You mean….

    Apple follows android into space – 6 months behind. 

    As they have been with everything for the last 2 years. 

  • Robert Norris Hills

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About the author

Leander KahneyLeander Kahney is the editor and publisher of Cult of Mac. He is the NYT bestselling author of Jony Ive: The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products; Inside Steve’s Brain; Cult of Mac; and Cult of iPod. Leander has written for Wired, MacWeek, Scientific American, and The Guardian in London. Follow Leander on Twitter @lkahney and Facebook.

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