Sunday, June 12, 2011

SpaceLab for iOS - STS 135, Takes iPhone To Space Abroad Atlantis

SpaceLab for iOS
We all know that US Shuttle program is coming to an end after continues operation for 30 years. I have collected numerous memorabilia, including a team watch, and have witnessed three blast offs. Unfortunately, I will not be able to witness the historic Atlantis - STS 135, but I am sure I will see some great footage.
But the story here is that the last Shuttle to fly into the space will be carrying two space certified (I do not know what that means) iPhone 4 with an app SpaceLab for iOS - STS 135. The app will assist those abroad the International Space Station to carry out four experiments. The iPhones will remain on ISS for a few months acquiring and storing data. The next oppertunity for these iPhones to return to Earth return will be on a Russian Soyuz vehicle in the fall of 2011 The experiments that will be carried out will bee;

Limb Tracker This navigation experiment will involve taking photographs of the Earth and matching an arc to the horizon through manipulation of an overlay. This performs the function roughly equivalent to a “manual” horizon sensor. It will yield an estimate of altitude (height above the surface) and “off axis” angle, a measurement of the angle of the image with respect to the Earth's center.
Sensor Cal This sensor calibration experiment uses a series of photos of a reference image, combined with propagated information using three-axis gyro and accelerometer measurements to calibrate the gyros and the accelerometers (i.e. bias and scale coefficients). This will improve the knowledge and accuracy of subsequent measurements.
State Acq State Acquisition - This navigation experiment uses a series of photos of a reference image and of the Earth, combined with information from the three-axis gyro and accelerometer, to estimate the position of the spacecraft (latitude and longitude). The position estimation is generated by manipulating and matching a wireframe overlay of the Earth's coastlines to the acquired Earth image(s). Performing multiple sequences, separated by a known amount of time, can permit estimation of the spacecraft's orbit parameters.
LFI Lifecycle Flight Instrumentation - This experiment will characterize the effects of radiation on the device by monitoring certain areas of memory for Single Bit Upsets - an unintended change in value of a memory location caused by exposure to radiation.
If you really want to see how the app works, you can download the app to your iPhone for $1 from Appstore. Once you have the app, do not forget to get the Localization Placard shown below.


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