CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (April 4th)- The U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia launched today from Florida's Kennedy Space Center at 2:20 P.M. EST, with a Linux system on board.
Headed for a sixteen day mission in space, the STS-83 space shuttle mission features an experiment studying the medicinal properties of plants.
The experiment is controlled by a computer running Debian Linux.
Sebastian Kuzminsky, a computer engineer for Biosciences Corporation, is quoted as saying, "The experiment studies the growth of plants in microgravity. It uses a miniature 486 C-compatible computer, the Ampro CoreModule 4DXi. Debian GNU/Linux is loaded on this system in place of DOS or MS-Windows. The fragility and power drain of disk drives ruled them out for this experiment, and a solid-state disk replacement from the ScanDisk company is used in their place. The entire system uses only 10 watts."
Linux Journal's July issue will be featuring an in-depth article about this experiment and details about the Linux system used. The article, titled: Linux Out of the Real World, is written by Sebastian Kuzminsky.