As I mentioned previously, IBM and Lenovo have long had a presence on the ISS. Gizmodo presented an interesting article, with some trivia related to this blog. For instance, "There are, last time I checked, about 80 laptops deployed throughout the ISS. Most of them are Lenovo T61P laptops, but there are still a few old Lenovo A31p Thinkpads floating around." Yes, those Lenovo T61's are even older than my circa 2008 Lenovo T400, but they are tanks! As an interesting side note, in a press release in 1997, IBM announced that the ThinkPad 760ED, with a whopping 133 MHz processor, would be the fastest notebook computer flown in space; the computer was only slightly modified for use in space.
As for why laptops are used instead of physical interfaces, "When the ISS was being designed, its architects wisely concluded that installing physical interfaces into the structure of the ISS was not a good idea. It's very hard to upgrade and/or repair interfaces that are part of the vehicle, whereas if laptop computers are used, upgrading or repair is as simple as launching a CD-ROM, uploading a file, or replacing the laptop. So with the exception of emergency hardware (e.g. ventilation valves), comm panels, and a limited set of other hardware, almost all vehicle commanding is done via a laptop interface."
Keeping sailing the skies, Lenovo. "To infinity...and beyond!"