There will be two iPhone 4s aboard the space shuttle orbiter Atlantis when it lifts off from the Kennedy Space Center in July. The astronauts will be using the iPhone 4s as ways to conduct a few experiments. Odyssey Space Research created an app, called SpaceLab for iOS, specifically for this mission. The following experiments will be performed:
Sensor Calibration: This will help the astronauts calibrate the iPhone 4′s camera, accelerometer, and gyroscope. It does this by taking pictures of a QR code. By doing this, astronauts can take the information they obtain and use it for an autocalibration function for future flights.
Limb Tracker: With this experiment, the astronauts will use the camera on the iPhone 4 to take pictures of the curvature of the Earth. With these pictures, they can then calculate how far above the Earth’s surface they are.
State Acquisition: Astronauts can use this to figure out just where they are in space by taking pictures of the Earth and comparing those pictures to coastline models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Lifecycle Flight Instrumentation: This last experiment will help determine how well the iPhone will function after the space flight by measuring the amount of radiation exposure.
We’ll find out how all of these experiments work soon- the launch date for Atlantis is July 8th.