The Future of Space Exploration: A Deep Dive into the Spaceborne Computer-2


Staff member
May 18, 2022
Spaceborne Computer-2: A Technological Marvel in Space Exploration

The advent of technology has not only revolutionized life on Earth but has also significantly impacted our approach to space exploration. One such technological marvel is the Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2), a collaboration between Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and NASA. This supercomputer is a testament to the advancements in space technology and the potential of off-the-shelf servers in withstanding the harsh conditions of space.

The Design and Components of SBC-2

The SBC-2 is designed to handle the computational loads during actual space travel via data-intensive applications. It is built on the foundation of several key components, including the HPE Edgeline Converged System, the HPE ProLiant System, HPE HPC Solutions, and HPE Serviceguard for Linux. These components work together to deliver enterprise IT capabilities in a ruggedized system designed for the harsh operating environments found at the edge, unmatched workload optimization, security, and automation, and increased uptime within a data center by protecting against faults and enabling downtime-free maintenance and upgrades.

The Journey of the Spaceborne Computer

The journey of the Spaceborne Computer has been marked by significant milestones. In 2017, the HPE Spaceborne Computer successfully reached and powered up in space. The following year, it was opened for supercomputing use on the ISS. In 2019, the computer returned to Earth, and in 2020, the next version of the HPE Spaceborne Computer was handed over to NASA. Finally, in 2021, the Spaceborne Computer-2 was launched into space.

In addition to these milestones, the Spaceborne Computer-2 project has also seen significant achievements. For instance, the successful testing of industry-standard, image analysis software ENVI in space, and the successful test of modeling software created in the lab of Derek Warner aboard the International Space Station. This demonstrated the potential ability for astronauts to fabricate their own components for equipment and other products through additive manufacturing, better known as 3D printing.

The Role of SBC-2 in Scientific Exploration

The Spaceborne Computer-2 is not just a technological marvel but also a tool for scientific exploration. Over the past 20 years, students have designed, built, launched, and operated their own experiments on the ISS, doing such things as controlling robots, analyzing space imagery, communicating via radio from the ground to space and back, and conducting cutting-edge genetic research.

The integration of HPE's Spaceborne Computer-2 with NASA's International Space Station (ISS) is a significant step forward in the utilization of space for data storage. The ISS, a hub of scientific research, has been continuously inhabited by astronauts conducting experiments in various fields, including biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, and meteorology. The addition of a supercomputer like the Spaceborne Computer-2 enhances the capabilities of the ISS, allowing for more complex computations and data analysis to be conducted in space.

The Spaceborne Computer-2 is a testament to the potential of technology in space exploration. It is a symbol of the future of space exploration, where advanced computing capabilities will play a crucial role in furthering our understanding of the universe. As we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible, the Spaceborne Computer-2 stands as a beacon of the technological advancements that await us in the final frontier.