Computer technology

NASA aims for 100x speedup with next space computer

A $50 million contract for a next-generation processor for use in space has been awarded to Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler, Arizona. The company, which manufactures embedded microcontrollers and 32-bit Arm-based systems, will design and supply the HPSC (High-Performance Spaceflight Computing(opens in a new tab)) processor over three years.

Next Space Computer, The new processor is expected to provide at least 100 times the computing power of current spaceflight computers. While that might sound like a boast, the current state of spatial computing means it’s certainly not out of reach. NASA’s reusable Orion capsule uses a Honeywell flight computer originally designed for use in Boeing 787 jetliners – a system that was 12 years old when it was launched in 2014. space is not that they are particularly fast, but that they are reliable and fault tolerant. The Hubble Space Telescope’s original DF-224 computer, built in the 1980s, was a triple-processor, 18-inch square that weighed 110 pounds. It was topped off with a 16 MHz Intel 386 in 1993, and the whole thing was replaced by a single 25 MHz Intel 486 in 2000, when the world was wowed by the Pentium 4. Mars rovers, on the other hand, carry IBM processors not unlike the Apple G3 (although no one has ever hardened a Powerbook against radiation). “Our current spaceflight computers were developed nearly 30 years ago,” said Wesley Powell, NASA’s lead technologist for advanced avionics. “While they have served past missions well, future NASA missions require significantly increased onboard computing capabilities and reliability. The new computing processor will provide the required advances in performance, fault tolerance and flexibility to meet these future mission needs.

Source: This news is originally published by Tomshardware