Science

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft to Launch First supercomputer to ISS Next Week

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft to Launch First supercomputer to ISS Next Week

As the ISS de-orbits, the world will be in need a of a new space station; Axiom is taking on this challenge, creating the first worldwide commercial space station to host government astronauts, private companies, and individual explorers alike. The ISS is the ideal place for private companies to test business ideas in microgravity, and NASA to test new technologies for future missions into deep space. SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft, loaded with several tons of experiments and supplies alongside the supercomputer, will take wings to the ISS on Monday, 14 August, from NASA's 39A Launch-Pad at the Florida-based launch ground. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said yesterday that it will launch a supercomputer into space on the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft on 14 August, as part of a joint experiment with the USA space agency NASA, according to a Xinhua report. Presently, the main command computers that operate the space station use Intel i386 processors.

The two COTS aboard the ISS will sit side-by-side in an ISS EXPRESS Rack locker in the Destiny Module.

The American conglomerate has officially announced the launch of a supercomputer into Space Station next week.

No, it's not another astronaut, but their first ever supercomputer!

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The Spaceborne computer, which is comprised of eight solid-state disks (four 120GB, four 240GB) and servers running Red Hat Linux, will carry Linpack benchmark software, high-performance data extension apps and a suite of specialized NASA applications for carrying out the experiments required. Unlike most computers, it has not been hardened for the radiation environment aboard the space station.

"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". And while the device is not exactly a state-of-the-art supercomputer-it has a computing speed of about 1 teraflop-it is the most powerful computer sent into space.

"A mission to Mars will require sophisticated on-board computing resources that are capable of extended periods of uptime", Alain Andreoil, senior vice president and general manager at HPE's data centre infrastructure group, wrote in a blog post. Future phases of this experiment eventually will involve sending other new technologies and advanced computing systems, such as memory-driven computing, to the ISS once Goh and his team learn more about how the Spaceborne computer reacts in space. 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. No modifications have been made to this space-bound HPE hardware, though - it is straight out of the factory - however HPE did create a "water-cooled enclosure" that acts as a buffer between the computer and the bit-flipping subatomic particles whizzing about the universe.

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