The laptops, which are on the space station’s “opsLAN” network, are used by astronauts to interface with onboard cameras and complete several other routine tasks, Joel Gunter of The Telegraph explained on Friday.
While Linux had already been used to run several systems on board the ISS, this means it will now be the exclusive OS used onboard the orbiting laboratory, he added.
“We migrated key functions from Windows to Linux because we needed an operating system that was stable and reliable – one that would give us in-house control. So if we needed to patch, adjust or adapt, we could,” Keith Chuvala of the United Space Alliance, the organization that operates opsLAN for NASA, told Gunter.
The Linux Foundation, a non-profit organization, created special courses to help train space station crewmembers using the system. According to Chuvala, the group “provided the trainer on-site at our headquarters, which was a huge plus… [and] on top of that, the cost was very good, so it was overall a great value.”