Posted on July 8, 2011, Phil Owen Your Xbox 360 is More Than 100 Times More Powerful Than The Space Shuttle’s Flight Computer
Well there’s something I wasn’t expecting to read today.
In honor of the Space Shuttle Atlantis’s final launch, my hometown newspaper, The Huntsville Times, put together a list of fun facts about the space shuttle. no. 1 was pretty surprising.
An Xbox 360 has far more power than the 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.
So NASA hasn’t updated the shuttle’s flight computer in 30 years, and yet space travel is still so expensive that the government keeps cutting funding for it? I think I smell some bulls–t here. There’s only so much of my disbelief that I can suspend, oh government of mine.