Xbox 360 Is More Powerful Than Space Shuttle’s Flight Computer

Space Shuttle Atlantis is fuelled, packed with astronauts, supplies and experiments, and waiting to roar its way into space as part of STS-135, the space shuttle program’s final mission.

We’ve checked out a shuttle cockpit, now how about some fun facts?

The Huntsville Times put together this fun little break down of weird facts about the space shuttle. Did you know:

An Xbox 360 has more power than the shuttle’s flight computer?
“The flight computer aboard the space shuttle has less than one percent of the power of an Xbox 360 game console. Astronauts load programs directing the phases of a mission – liftoff, orbit, landing – into the computer one at a time after removing the program for the previous segment. Why hasn’t NASA upgraded the computer? The agency values its 30-year history of reliability. That said, astronauts don’t go into space with only one computer. Crew laptops and other laptops also make the trip.”

Each launch gets its own patch

It’s a fuel sucker
“If the orbiter’s main engines pumped water instead of fuel, they would drain an average-sized swimming pool every 25 seconds. Because liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen fuel the main engines, the majority of exhaust produced is water vapor.”

It lands on Michelin tyres
“The orbiter lands on special Michelin tires not much larger than truck tires. Like most aviation tires, the shuttle’s tires are filled with nitrogen to a pressure of 340 psi. Michelin says “a main landing gear tire can carry three times the load of a Boeing 747 tire or the entire starting line-up of a NASCAR race – 40 race cars – all hitting the pavement at up to 250 miles per hour (402km/h).”

Check out the launch live here (if they weather holds) and the rest of these fun facts here.

You can also stick around and chat about the hopeful launch and watch it on the site below.

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