The most recent Space Shuttle voyage will take Android alongside the two iPhones as soon as Atlantis launches on Friday, NASA said the day before. Two Google Nexus S phones will be taken to the International Space Station to inflate the features of SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), drones used to test spacecraft techniques and satellite maintenance.
The phones will produce the floating pods freedom to be controlled from the ground, cameras for a first-person view, and additional performance than they would cover on their own.
An upgrade will transform the devices into efficient servant robots for the crew, the Intelligent Robotics Group's DW Wheeler told CNET. Among the possibilities are scanning materials or looking for clear flaws. The goal is to ultimately keep ISS crew members paying attention on their missions and not on basic tasks.
The phones' installation is estimated to take place in September or October.
Carrying both of the two major American smartphone platforms can be symbolic for Atlantis. For many, Apple and Google at the same time represent the new forefront of US technology while the Space Shuttle is bowing out over 30 years after it too was the cutting edge. The iPhones and Nexus S phones are both being used to conduct experiments that wouldn't have been achievable on Earth or before modern smartphones.
Atlantis is scheduled to launch at 11:26AM Eastern and, appropriately, will have live streaming coverage optimized both for Android and iPhone viewers.