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Space shuttle Atlantis carries some curious cargo: two iPhones

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Pierre Ducharme/Reuters

(Read caption) The space shuttle Atlantis STS-135 lifts off from launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL. The 12-day mission to the International Space Station is the last mission in the Space Shuttle program.

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When Atlantis blasted off Friday, it carried two new voyagers into space: a pair of Apple iPhone 4s.

The iPhone already connects people worldwide via e-mail, Words With Friends, and Twitter. But the new SpaceLab app for iOS extends the iPhone's reach into a brand new world, or rather out of this world.

The app, developed by Odyssey Space Research, is en route to the International Space Station aboard the Atlantis. These first space-bound iPhones are destined for the ISS as part of Mission STS-135, the last flight of NASA’s 30-year-long Space Shuttle program.

“The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices,” says Odyssey CEO Brian Rishikof in a press release. “The potential for using iPhone 4 to both conduct and support in-space research and operations is enormous.”

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