SpaceX to send supercomputer to the International Space Station

James Marshall
August 15, 2017

SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket is all set to make a new addition into the International Space station.

"We see the Spaceborne Computer experiment as a fitting extension to our HPE Apollo portfolio, purpose-built for supercomputing".

The rocket that took of at 12:31PM ET from Cape Canaveral, Florida, will launch a supercomputer called Spaceborne, from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. The goal of the experiment is to analyze "if high performance computing hardware, with no hardware customization or modification, can survive and operate in outer space conditions" for an entire year, according to TechCrunch.

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.

Astronauts will install the computer at the Destiny module of the ISS. But travel a bit further into the ether-to Mars, for instance-and it becomes much more hard to keep in touch: It could take up to 20 minutes for someone on the Red Planet to contact Earth, and another 20 minutes to receive a response. Such a long communication lag would make any on-the-ground exploration challenging and potentially risky if astronauts are met with any mission critical scenarios that they're not able to solve themselves. To meet these requirements, we need to improve technology's viability in space in order to better ensure mission success.

Considering that SpaceX is now preparing for a mission to Mars, it is paramount that the astronauts that eventually head out there have durable, working machines.

How solar radiation affects the computers while they run will also be monitored, along with power consumption and the practicalities of running and managing off-the-shelf systems in orbit for long periods of time.

"By sending a supercomputer to space, HPE is taking the first step in that direction", Andreoli said, tipping future phases of the experiment, including eventually sending other technologies into space.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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