Odyssey Space Research, L.L.C., today announced a space-based, experimental app, dubbed SpaceLab for iOS
, which will be used for space research aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
The SpaceLab for iOS app will make its way to the ISS on an iPhone 4 aboard the orbiter Atlantis on the space shuttle fleet's historic final mission, STS-135, and will remain there for several months for the ISS crew to conduct a series of experiments.
Odyssey also announced it is bringing the astronauts' on-orbit experimental tasks down to earth for "terrestrial" consumers to enjoy via the SpaceLab for iOS app available today from the App Store.
The SpaceLab for iOS app will utilize the features of the iPhone 4, including the three-axis gyro, accelerometer, Retina display, cameras and A4 chip, for space-based research.
The crew will conduct various experiments to collect data which could one day find use in practical applications, such as the recovery of navigation information for a spacecraft that might be "lost in space."
A ground-based user of the SpaceLab for iOS app will be able to conduct the same experiments with certain features simulated to account for the presence of gravity.
"The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices," said Brian Rishikof, Odyssey's Chief Executive Officer. "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."
iPhone 4, was certified for spaceflight and is being transported to the ISS on the space shuttle via NanoRacks, LLC of Houston, Texas, who provide low-cost hardware and integration services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS. They will house an iPhone 4 in their NanoLab, a small microgravity research platform destined for the ISS.
"Everyone at NanoRacks is excited about being part of this new chapter in our space program," explains Jeffrey Manber, NanoRacks Managing Director. "Leveraging the innovation of such an iconic consumer product to conduct tasks once reserved for space-only hardware is without a doubt the next step in our utilization of space. Bringing iPhone 4 and Odyssey's technology with us on this final space shuttle mission is symbolic of the new direction of our space program."
With an opportunity for return to Earth on the Russian Soyuz vehicle next fall, actual flight data from the experiments are expected to be collected, analyzed, and shared so that educators, students, scientists and space enthusiasts can recreate the experiments as if onboard the ISS itself.
The SpaceLab for iOS app is available now for $0.99 from the App Store on iPhone and iPod Touch.