SpaceX rocket to fire supercomputer into orbit

Bruno Cirelli
Agosto 15, 2017

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said yesterday that it will launch a supercomputer into space on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on 14 August, as part of a joint experiment with the USA space agency NASA, according to a Xinhua report. The goal is for the system to operate seamlessly in the harsh conditions of space for one year - roughly the amount of time it will take to travel to Mars.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will take the computer, aptly named "Spaceborne Computer", as a part of a year-long experiment conducted by NASA and Hewlett-Packard Enterprises.

The outlet points out that the experiment's length of time is roughly equal to the time it'll take for a crewed spacecraft to reach Mars.

Numerous calculations needed for space research projects are still done on Earth due to the limited computing capabilities in space, which creates a challenge when transmitting data to and from space.

The computers the human race now work with aren't built for space, and can't last long in off-planet environments. "By sending a supercomputer to space, HPE is taking the first step in that direction", he wrote.

Astronauts will install the computer at the Destiny module of the ISS. Instead, HPE has developed software that throttles down the computers based on environmental conditions to mitigate against errors induced by high radiation. Hardened computers are typically less efficient than computers who have not undergone the process, so this experiment will demonstrate the effects this environment will have on the performance of a more everyday computer.

The supercomputer from HPE is a part of a larger initiative at the International Space Station where it offers companies the opportunity to test various business ideas in microgravity, as well as allow NASA to test new technologies for future deep space missions.

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