Friday, 12 February 2021 15:48

HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 heading for space station


Hewlett Packard Enterprise's (HPE) second-generation Spaceborne Computer is scheduled for launch on 20 February, heading for the International Space Station.

Spaceborne Computer-2 is intended to enable real-time data processing with advanced commercial edge computing in space for the first time.

This will allow insights to be gained from onboard experiments in minutes rather than months, according to HPE.

Tasks will include processing medical imaging and data from remote sensors and satellites, as well as DNA sequencing.

Spaceborne Computer-2 is scheduled to launch into orbit on the 15th Northrop Grumman resupply mission to the ISS (NG-15) on 20 February 2021, and is expected to be in service for two to three years.

The NG-15 spacecraft has been named "SS. Katherine Johnson" in honour of the famed NASA mathematician.

The original Spaceborne Computer was launched in 2017 as a proof of concept for using commercial-off-the-shelf servers with software-based hardening on the ISS, with its zero gravity and high levels of radiation.

Spaceborne Computer-2 can deliver twice as much compute speed, powered by the HPE Edgeline converged edge system and a HPE ProLiant server to ingest and process data.

It includes GPUs to accelerate image processing and AI and machine learning workloads.

Applications include real-time monitoring of astronauts' physiological conditions by processing X-ray, sonograms and other medical data to speed diagnosis in-space; and processing massive volumes of data from hundreds of sensors placed on the ISS and satellites by NASA and other organisations without having to send it back to Earth, for example to measure road traffic trends or air quality, and tracking objects moving in space and in the atmosphere, such as planes and missiles.

"The most important benefit to delivering reliable in-space computing with Spaceborne Computer-2 is making real-time insights a reality. Space explorers can now transform how they conduct research based on readily available data and improve decision-making," said HPE solution architect for converged edge systems Mark Fernandez, the principal investigator for Spaceborne Computer-2.

"We are honoured to make edge computing in space possible and through our longstanding partnerships with NASA and the International Space Station US National Laboratory, we are look forward to powering new, exciting research opportunities to make breakthrough discoveries for humanity."

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Stephen Withers

Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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