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Space shuttle Atlantis carries some curious cargo: two iPhones

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A team of two from Odyssey, a spacecraft engineering, analysis, and research company based in Houston, designed the app specifically for the iPhone 4’s cutting-edge capabilities including the three-axis gyro, accelerometer, Retina display, cameras, and A4 processor.

This technology will be used to conduct four experiments:

  1. Limb tracker experiment will measure the distance and exact location of the iPhone in relation to the Earth’s center.
  2. Sensor cal, which calibrates the three-axis gyro and accelerometer to make subsequent measurements more accurate.
  3. State acquisition, which calculates the longitude and latitude of the spacecraft multiple times to predict the spacecraft’s path of orbit.
  4. Lifecycle Flight Instrumentation will monitor and categorize how radiation affects the iPhone.

The goal of the SpaceLab app is to gather as much data as possible now to aid in developing more advanced mobile applications in the future.

“We view this very much as the beginning,” Rishikof says in a phone call with the Monitor. “We intend to explore more capable and more operational applications in the future.”

Rishikof says he and developer Matt Benson worked aggressively to create the app and ensure the phone’s durability since Apple released the iPhone 4s last June.

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