HP’s Spaceborne Computer Stranded in Space


As an experiment a twain of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) dispatched in the air to the International Space station (ISS) in August 2017, which was supposed to be back after three months but it is not back yet.

A twain of Computers which are named as ‘Spaceborne computers’ by the company is a Linux system with the powers of the supercomputer. They were sent in the air to check their working duration in the space without the operator. Moreover, they are still working after being in the space for 530 days. Also, they were supposed to be back after three months but they did not because of the failure of the Russian rocket in October 2018. The mastermind of HPE, Adrian Kasbergen, says that it will be back in June 2019 as the twain is not getting any opportunity to come back yet.

HP spaceborne Computer in Space
Image Credit: BBC News

HPE is working with NASA as well to send a flight to Mars which is to be expected in 2030. They are working to send a ‘computer-ready’ flight. Moreover, the company is also working with Elon Musk’s Space X.

Presently, the machines in ISS, which send data in seconds to Earth for processing, are twenty years old. Whereas, on Mars, which is millions of miles away, the data will take 40 mints to reach that is why a spaceship will be used for data processing.

Mr Kasbergen in an interview to BBC told that these computers cost $8m each, not just thousands but millions of dollars and it took 10 years to make them. He added that these computer are surrounded in the real thing. Whereas, the servers had custom made cooling solution as they were not altered. The computers were airtight in a box with a radiator and it was attached to the water cooling system of ISS. Radiator served the purpose of cooling the hot air from the servers. He talked to BBC in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress 2019 where HPE replica is displayed.

Mr Kasbergen said that the problems related to redundancy of power supply and solid state drives were there which were managed by the independent software installed in them.

The servers will be examined when they reach the Earth back to check the problem.


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