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ISS set to receive enhanced HPE Supercomputer
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ISS set to receive enhanced HPE Supercomputer
by Clarence Oxford
Los Angeles CA (SPX) Jan 24, 2024

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is poised to take a significant step forward in the realm of space computing by launching an updated version of the HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 to the International Space Station (ISS). This move represents a pivotal moment in the advancement of high-performance computing in space, leveraging HPE EdgeLine and ProLiant servers in a commercial off-the-shelf supercomputer.

The project, scheduled to be part of Northrop Grumman's 20th Commercial Resupply Services mission (NG-20), underscores the growing emphasis on incorporating powerful computing capabilities in space missions. The enhanced HPE Spaceborne Computer is not just a piece of advanced technology but a tool poised to revolutionize how research is conducted in orbit. Its primary objective is to facilitate faster processing of Earth observations and bolster the efficiency of astronaut health monitoring aboard the ISS.

Mark Fernandez, principal investigator for HPE Spaceborne Computer-2, emphasized the computer's potential impact: "The Spaceborne Computer has the potential to not only accelerate data processing in space but also speed up the exchange of data insights between Earth and space." His statement underlines the computer's role in streamlining in-space research and enhancing the application of edge computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning on the space station.

The Spaceborne Computer's journey began with its first version, which was initially scoped as a yearlong proof-of-concept to test its endurance and capabilities in the challenging space environment. After a successful trial, the mission was extended for an additional six months, leading to the first investigation's recognition with an ISS Innovation Award in Technology Development and Demonstration. This initial success laid the foundation for the first launch of HPE Spaceborne Computer-2, equipped with new hardware to expand the scope of onboard research capabilities, including AI and machine learning.

In its third iteration, HPE collaborates with KIOXIA to incorporate additional flash memory storage into the Spaceborne Computer system. This enhancement aims to test storage and recovery capabilities crucial for long-term space missions. Fernandez's team is focused on pushing the boundaries of research capabilities and setting new standards for operating efficiency in space. He highlighted the importance of this technology in enabling high-power computing and AI, stating, "The technology provides the high-power computing and AI computing power that top thinkers need to explore big questions that benefit humanity."

Fernandez, a southern Louisianian, also pointed out the potential Earth-bound benefits of this technology. He expressed a personal interest in how it could aid in more efficient Earth observations, providing critical information in emergency situations like floods and hurricanes, thus saving lives and assisting emergency personnel.

The upcoming NG-20 mission, targeted for launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station no earlier than January 29 at 12:29 p.m. EST, will carry more than 20 ISS National Lab-sponsored payloads, including the updated HPE Spaceborne Computer. This mission is a testament to the ever-growing collaboration between private sector technology and space research, aiming to enhance our understanding of both space and Earth.

The launch of the updated HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 to the ISS represents a significant step in the evolution of space computing. By combining the robust capabilities of HPE's technology with the unique environment of space, this project stands to make a substantial contribution to the field of high-performance computing in orbit.

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