Tomorrow marks yet another SpaceX launch for 2017, the eleventh to be specific. If the weather holds to satisfactory launching conditions, the Falcon 9 rocket will be carrying amongst its cargo a computer to the International Space Station (ISS). More specifically a supercomputer from Hewlett Packard Enterprise called the Spaceborne Computer.
This supercomputer will be put through testing to see how a commercial grade computer handles the harsh environment of space. With the ISS sitting in Lower Earth Orbit, it sits just outside the protection of the Earth’s atmosphere exposing it to more radiation from solar flares and cosmic rays that originate outside our Solar System.
This exposure can degrade technology over time and is why more protection is needed in electronics to shield them from this higher radiation environment. According to Hewlett Packard, this “year-long experiment conducted by HPE and NASA to run a high-performance commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer system in space, which has never been done before. The goal is for the system to operate seamlessly in the harsh conditions of space for one year – roughly the amount of time it will take to travel to Mars.”
Though it might seem insignificant and boring, this is just the beginning of mankind taking their first steps into space travel. Which to me, is very exciting.
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to take off tomorrow, August 14 at 12:31 PM EST from Cape Canaveral, Florida.