A computer on the International Space Station will connect to Azure later this month.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise are working together to connect a PC on the International Space Station to Azure.
  • The move will allow people on the ISS to process data on the station rather than sending it down to Earth.
  • The computer is scheduled to go to the ISS on February 20, 2021.

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) are working together to connect a PC on the International Space Station (ISS) to Azure. HPE is sending a second-generation Spaceborne Computer to the ISS later this month and will connect that PC to Microsoft’s Azure (via SpaceNews).

The Spaceborne Computer-2 will connect to Azure through NASA and HPE ground stations.

A news release on the connection states:

Astronauts and space explorers deserve access to the best cloud computing technologies and advanced processing at the ultimate edge. Sometimes analysis needs to be done immediately at the edge where every passing moment counts, and other times the analysis is so massively complex that it can only be performed with the power of the hyperscale cloud.

Having the computer on the ISS connected to Azure saves time when it comes to data processing. Teams on the ISS won’t need to send data down to Earth to have it processed and then sent back up to the ISS.

Mark Fernandez, HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 principal investigator, said:

HPE and Microsoft are collaborating to further accelerate space exploration by delivering state-of-the art technologies to tackle a range of data processing needs while in orbit. By bringing together HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2, which is based on the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge system for advanced edge computing and AI capabilities, with Microsoft Azure to connect to the cloud, we are enabling space explorers to seamlessly transmit large data sets to and from Earth and benefit from an edge-to-cloud experience.

The HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 is set to go up to the ISS on February 20, 2021.