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By 14 August 2017 | Categories: news

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SpaceX is back at it. The company is planning for a launch later today at 18:31 (SAST), where an HP Enterprise (HPE) supercomputer will make its way to the International Space Station (ISS). Named the Spaceborne Computer, it will be sent to the ISS via one of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rockets, and forms part of a joint project between NASA and HPE.  

The aim of the venture is to see whether a commercial supercomputer would be able to handle the harsh environment of space, and if successful could mean that HPE would be sending more of its devices into orbit to assist NASA with critical functions. 

A significant part of the harshness is down to the fact that the ISS is orbiting in a fairly low location, making it more susceptible to radiation, as well as cosmic rays and solar flares, which has a degrading effect on technology. 

In order to deal with this, the HPE supercomputer has introduced a few software changes compared to its normal offering. To that end, the open-source Linux operating system will be able to detect when a radiation event is happening, and will then throttle its performance in an effort to limit possible damage. 

Having passed more than 146 different safety check and tests, according to NASA, it should be interesting to see how HPE's supercomputer fares in the real thing.  

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