A pair of apple iPhone 4's will launch into earth orbit in July aboard the final space shuttle flight and will be used by astronauts during a series of experiments aboard the International Space Station.
Each iPhone 4 model will have a special application loaded to test the calibration of the smart phone in space, and uses for it's camera as the crew aims it toward the earth in a series of photography tests.
The application, a thumb-nail logo located on the front of the touch screen device, was designed in conjunction with NASA and created by Odyssey Space Research, who is paying the space agency for their application "SpaceLab for iOS" to be tested.
“The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices,” Odyssey's Chief Executive Officer Brian Rishikof stated recently.
The application is available for download here on earth for .99 cents by iPhone owners via apple's app store.
IPhone 4 owners at the apple retail store in Alpharetta, Georgia, spoke with surprise and excitement upon learning of the next space shuttle flight's special payload.
"I just hope it leads to improved technologies for future iPhones," said Dale Shepard, a customer who had just bought a new iPhone for his wife on Thursday. "I look forward to taking my iPhone with me into space one day."
The iPhone tests will not use cellular service nor the data services during the four multi-step experiments aboard the space station.
Each crew member will enter their name and answer a series of questions related to the experiment, as they work in either the U.S. laboratory or the Cupola module which provides a 360-degree field of view of the earth.
“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,” Rishikof added.
The twin iPhones will be housed inside a NanoRacks cube carrier when shuttle Atlantis lifts-off on July 8 from the Kennedy Space Center.
Experimental tests also include how solar radiation effects the smart phone's memory, and test how it may aide in navigation by photographing a series of locations on earth.
The duel phones are intended for tests by NASA astronauts Ron Garan and Mike Fossum, and several of the six space station crew members following Atlantis' departure on July 18.