The Space Shuttle vs. Smart Phones
November 23rd, 2015 | Rachel Tepper, Operations Manager
Fact: your smart phone has more computing power than the original space shuttle, which used only 1MB of RAM. By comparison, an iPhone 4s had 512 MB of RAM.
So why didn’t NASA upgrade? Because even at 30-years old (500 in technology years), the computing system was incredibly reliable. Four computers operated simultaneously, and if one had a different result, it was presumed wrong by the other three, eliminating any errors in calculations. A fifth computer provided emergency backup if one of the four computers failed. It’s a system that was the equivalent of having a spare parachute for your other two spare parachutes. Considering each shuttle had 300 miles of wiring, 2.5 million parts, and the combined power of 14,000 locomotives using 3.5 million pounds of fuel during launch, the last thing needed was a “spinning beach ball” on screen.
Crazy Shuttle Facts: