Economy

SpaceX Rocket to Fire Hewlett Packard Supercomputer Into Orbit

If the computer remains usable, technology aboard spacecrafts can be improved, making it possible to send astronauts deeper into space.

While Elon Musk is raring to get Earthlings on their merry way to Mars until the computing resources are available to confidently cope with space and not degrade during the long journey Nasa missions will not be able to take off.

SpaceX will take the system, a box that can process data from experiments, on its Dragon Spacecraft that will be launched from Cape Canaveral on August 14 to the International Space Station. "HPE's system software will manage real time throttling of the computer systems based on current conditions and can mitigate environmentally induced errors", according to a blog post by Alain Andreoli, Senior Vice President & General Manager, HPE Data Centre Infrastructure Group.

In the joint experiment, Hewlett Packard Enterprise developed a supercomputer coined as the "Spaceborne Computer".

The Spaceborne experiment could also have a knock-on effect back on Earth with any breakthroughs in the software technology potentially trickling down to consumer PCs for next-generation high performance computing. The space-bound "Spaceborne Computer" can accomplish one trillion calculations per second.

NASA requires for equipment to be "ruggedized" before it is sent into space due to it having to deal with things like radiation, solar flares, subatomic particles, micrometeoroids, unstable electrical power, and irregular cooling.

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The supercomputer is a powerful piece of hardware that is capable of processing huge amount of data and subsequently transmitting results to other machines in seconds.

By sending a supercomputer into space, HPE is taking the first step in that direction.

HP's ultimate objective is to successfully develop a computer that will effectively carry out its operations for extended periods under harsh space conditions.

Currently, numerous calculations needed for space research projects are still done on Earth due to the limited computing capabilities in space, according to HPE.

"While this approach works for space exploration on the moon or in low Earth orbit (LEO) when astronauts can be in near real-time communication with Earth, once they travel farther out and closer to Mars, they will experience larger communication latencies".

The HPE Spaceborne Computer is based on the so-called Apollo 40 class systems, running an open-source Linux operating system, with a unique water-cooled enclosure, but has no hardware modifications, according to the company.



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