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Hewlett Packard Enterprise Accelerates Space Exploration with First Ever In-Space Commercial Edge Computing and Artificial Intelligence Capabilities

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) today announced it is accelerating space exploration and increasing self-sufficiency for astronauts by enabling real-time data processing with advanced commercial edge computing in space for the first time. Astronauts and space explorers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) will speed time-to-insight from months to minutes on various experiments in space, from processing medical imaging and DNA sequencing to unlocking key insights from volumes of remote sensors and satellites, using HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2), an edge computing system.

Spaceborne Computer-2 is scheduled to launch into orbit on the 15th Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission to Space Station (NG-15) on February 20 and be available for use on the International Space Station for the next 2-3 years.

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Breaking Barriers to Achieve Reliable Computing in Space

The upcoming launch of Spaceborne Computer-2 builds on the proven success of its predecessor, Spaceborne Computer, a proof-of-concept that HPE developed and launched in partnership with NASA in 2017 to operate on the International Space Station (ISS) for a one-year mission. The goal was to test if affordable, commercial off-the-shelf servers used on earth, but equipped with purposefully-designed software-based hardening features, can withstand the shake, rattle and roll of a rocket launch to space, and once there, seamlessly operate on the ISS.

The proof-of-concept addressed the need for more reliable computing capabilities on the ISS, or low Earth orbit (LEO), that were previously impossible to achieve due to the ISS’s harsh environment of zero gravity and high levels of radiation that can damage IT equipment required to host computing technologies.

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Additionally, gaining more reliable computing on the ISS is just the first step in NASA’s goals for supporting human space travel to the Moon, Mars and beyond where reliable communications is a mission critical need.

HPE successfully accomplished its one-year mission with Spaceborne Computer and is now set to launch, through a sponsorship from the ISS U.S. National Laboratory, an even more advanced system, called Spaceborne Computer-2, which is set to launch this month and be installed on the ISS for the next 2-3 years for wider use.

Accelerating Space Exploration with State-of-the-Art Edge Computing and AI Capabilities

Spaceborne Computer-2 will offer twice as much compute speed with purpose-built edge computing capabilities powered by the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge system and HPE ProLiant server to ingest and process data from a range of devices, including satellites and cameras, and process in real-time.

Spaceborne Computer-2 will also come equipped with graphic processing units (GPUs) to efficiently process image-intensive data requiring higher image resolution such as shots of polar ice caps on earth or medical x-rays. The GPU capabilities will also support specific projects using AI and machine learning techniques.

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