HP’s first supercomputer works in space

  • September 27, 2017

Astronauts need to process a lot of data and perform complex calculations. In the recent state of affairs, they had to exchange information intensively with Earth – that is where the computing facilities were located, while on the ISS they worked on modest portable computers. This gave them a substantial (up to 40 minutes) delay.
It’s been about a month since the Dragon spacecraft delivered a supercomputer to the International Space Station. The ISS crew reports that despite reasonable concerns about possible malfunctions, the tech launched successfully and is now operational.
Dubbed the Spaceborne, high-performance computing system has been developed by NASA and the Hewlett Packard Corporation for the sake of experience: how such hardware behaves in space conditions.
The question is about increased radiation, solar flares, bombardment by subatomic particles and similar phenomena, which are not observed in terrestrial conditions. The developers balanced the hardware part of the supercomputer with the software – the software automatically corrects operation depending on the state of the environment.

Known specifications
Server modification: Hewlett Packard Apollo 40
Operating system: Linux
Peak power: 1 TFLOPS
Cooling system: water
Planned uptime (continuous operation without reboots): 1 year

What is the future of the experiment?
The closest. The planned date of the American mission to Mars is rapidly approaching. 1 Earth year – exactly how much is going to spend in the flight of the Martian expedition, and the same duration has an experiment with a supercomputer on board the ISS. NASA will check whether Spaceborne will be able to withstand a one-year period of operation without reboots and failures. After all, halfway between the planets the hardware cannot be replaced