Storage in Space Enables and Accelerates Edge of the Edge Computing on the International Space Station (ISS)


One of the goals of HPE’s Spaceborne Computer program is proving the value of edge computing. Spaceborne Computer-1 (SBC-1) was launched in August of 2017 with the latest available COTS (Commercial off the Shelf) hardware, including twenty solid state disks (SSDs) for storage. The disappointing durability of those SSDs will be covered; the Failure Analysis (FA) of them upon Return To Earth (RTE) will be presented and the mitigation done in Spaceborne Computer-2 will be detailed. HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2) launched in February of 2021 with over 6 TB of internal SSD storage. Onboard storage of ISS-generated “raw” data is critical to proving the value of edge computing, to delivering results and insights to scientists and researchers faster and to enabling deeper exploration of the cosmos. The storage design will be summarized, including the concept of operations (ConOps) for backup and disaster recovery. Several successful SBC-2 edge computing experiments will be reviewed, all of which demonstrate a reduction in download size to Earth of at least 95%. Additionally, Spaceborne Computer-2 has access to the ISS Payloads Network Attached Storage (PL-NAS). The PL-NAS is a NASA file server with five hard drive bays and allows onboard ISS systems to access a shared folder location on the PL-NAS. A summary of the decision to opt for SSDs on HPE’s Spaceborne Computer instead of traditional hard drives will be presented. SBC-2 exploitation of the PL-NAS for EVA safety operations will be detailed. Finally, the market for anticipated edge services is being better defined and concepts will be presented, all of which require stable and reliable storage at the edge.

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