HPE, NASA to Send New Supercomputer Aboard SpaceX

SpaceX To Launch Super Computer To Space

SpaceX To Launch Super Computer To Space

Andreoli wrote that HPE built a special water-cooled enclosure for the supercomputer as well as custom software created to meet NASA's specifications for computers in space. So NASA and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) are taking the first step toward that by launching a "supercomputer" to the International Space Station. As part of a joint experiment with the USA space agency NASA, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said on Friday that it will launch a supercomputer into space on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft next Monday. The goal is to better understand how the space environment will degrade the performance of an off-the-shelf computer.

Andreoli explained that HPE has a 30-year relationship with NASA that it inherited through its acquisition of computing hardware maker SGI for $275 million in 2016. He won't be on the flight, but he'll be watching his handiwork-an item called the called the Spaceborne Computer-on the mission very closely over the next 12 months.

For the year-long experiment, astronauts will install the computer inside a rack in the Destiny module of the space station. "The patent process was started, and then we wrote a paper to NASA about how to harden their computers using software".

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"Such a long communication lag would make any on-the-ground exploration challenging and potentially unsafe if astronauts are met with any mission critical scenarios that they're not able to solve themselves", Alain Andreoli, SVP and GM of HPE's data center infrastructure group, wrote in a blog post.

Currently, numerous calculations needed for space research projects are still done on Earth due to the limited computing capabilities in space, according to HPE. Although this approach works fine during low-Earth orbit or moon mission, it is not suitable for deep space missions as it would take about 20 minutes for a message to reach a ground station and another 20 minutes for the response to reach astronauts if they get near Mars. For astronauts on Mars, that could mean waiting as long as 40 minutes for communications to reach Earch and back.

"Such a long communication lag would make any on-the-ground exploration challenging and potentially unsafe if astronauts are met with any mission critical scenarios that they're not able to solve themselves", Andreoil said. Atop SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft, which is slated to take off next Monday, the first supercomputer will be delivered to the ISS.

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So astronauts will require that type of computing power locally on the spacecraft. Moreover, there are many areas in space where loss of signal occurs.

HPE Spaceborne Computer runs on open-source Linux OS. The differences between these two sets of numbers will give scientists an idea of the practical effects life in orbit has on commercially available computer equipment, as opposed to highly expensive specialized systems built exclusively for withstanding spaceflight.

HPE's system software will manage real-time throttling of the computer systems based on current conditions and can mitigate environmentally induced errors autonomically.

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