The international space station is about to receive the most powerful supercomputer ever to operate beyond planet Earth. The most high-tech cargo will travel to space on board a SpaceX rocket that is scheduled to blast off on Monday.

SpaceX partners with HP and NASA

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is eager to bring humans to Mars. But the CEO is convinced that the Mars mission would not be possible until sophisticated computing resources that are able to sustain extended uptime will become available in space. To make things happen, SpaceX partners with the U.S.

space agency NASA and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

In the joint experiment, Hewlett Packard Enterprise developed a supercomputer coined as the “Spaceborne Computer”. The supercomputer is a powerful piece of hardware that is capable of processing huge amount of data and subsequently transmitting results to other machines in seconds. If the “Spaceborne Computer” functions as intended, it will become the most advanced computer that is operating in space.

HP’s ultimate objective is to successfully develop a computer that will effectively carry out its operations for extended periods under harsh space conditions. Being able to successfully come up with such technology is essential to kick off Musk’s mission to Mars.

According to Apps for PC Daily, the benefit of the experiment is not limited to advance space computing. The “Spaceborne Computer” is also expected to generate a ripple effect in many other aspects of technological innovation on Earth.

HP’s supercomputer and its features

The “Spaceborne Computer” was designed to be the most powerful off the shelf HP computer that will operate in space.

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According to NBC Montana, the HP gadget is housed in a unique water-cooled case. In order to resolve the reliability issues of space computing, HP has specifically developed a purpose-built system software that is capable addressing computer errors induced by the harsh space environment.

According to HPE’s head project engineer Mark Fernandez, the supercomputer is about 30 to 100 times more powerful compared to an average desktop computer.

The space-bound “Spaceborne Computer” can accomplish one trillion calculations per second. Chief scientist Julie Robinson of NASA's space station program said that if HP’s supercomputer will successfully function in space, companies on Earth will also benefit.

After a successful launch, Fernandez and his team will determine if the “Spaceborne Computer” will work in space. In order to determine if the supercomputer is fully functional, the team will run series of tests that is estimated to last for about 2 and a half hours. The SpaceX rocket is scheduled to blast off on August 14.