iPads on the International Space Station

By Norman Chan

Bringing an iPad to the ISS as a portable computer sounds like a no-brainer, but it really isn't.

One of the many awesome things you might notice in today's video with astronaut Chris Hadfield is that he's using an iPad on board the ISS (looks like an iPad 2). Hadfield uses the iPad to load up the instructions and photo we sent to construct Jamie's space game concept. And while having an iPad on board the ISS seems like a no brainer--its size and portability are huge advantages in the confines of the ISS--astronauts rarely get the latest consumer gear that you can buy here on Earth. Wired's Gadgetlab posted a great explanation about the two-year certification process for approving electronics for spaceflight, and why Apple iPhones and iPads in particular raise special safety concerns. Electrical compatibility and shattering glass screens turning into shrapnel are just two potential problems.