On July 8, astronauts will take iPhone 4 smartphones aboard NASA's Atlantis, making them the first astronauts ever to fly with iPhones into space.

The iPhones are programmed with an app called SpaceLab for iOS, designed by Odyssey Space Research, which is expected to help the astronauts carry out experiments with step-by-step instruction programs. The phones will remain in space for a couple of months.

The smartphones will be delivered to the International Space Station during the STS-135 mission of Atlantis, the final flight of NASA's storied space shuttle program.When the experiments are completed, both iPhones will be returned to earth, expected via a Russian Soyuz vehicle in the fall of 2011. Flight data are expected to be collected, analyzed, and then shared via this app on the App Store.

Odyssey's CEO Brian Rishikof stated The revolutionary iPhone 4 offers an extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate serious functions previously reserved for more expensive, purpose-built devices.

The potential for using iPhone 4 to both conduct and support in-space research and operations is enormous.

The SpaceLab for iOS app, designed to simulate an astronaut's experience, is also available to people on earth for 99 cents.