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Today we are announcing our partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to connect Azure directly to space using HPE’s upcoming launch of its Spaceborne Computer-2 (SBC-2), which will deliver edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities together for the first time on the International Space Station (ISS). The SBC-2 is built on the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge system that is purposely engineered for harsh edge environments and will also enable additional capabilities to connect Azure workloads to the ultimate edge.
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. Microsoft and HPE have established a connection from Spaceborne Computer-2 to Microsoft Azure (through NASA and the HPE ground station) to help tackle these challenges and develop new insights and opportunities.
Right now, our Microsoft Research and Azure Space engineering teams are evaluating the potential of HPE’s space, state-of-the-art processing in conjunction with hyperscale Azure, alongside the development of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models to support new insights and research advancements, including:
- Weather modeling of dust storms to enable future modeling for Mars missions.
- Plant and hydroponics analysis to support food growth and life sciences in space.
- Medical imaging using an ultrasound on the ISS to support astronaut healthcare.
“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. We look forward to collaborating with Microsoft on their Azure Space efforts, which share our vision to accelerate discovery and help make breakthroughs to support life and sustainability in future, extended human missions to space.” —Dr. Mark Fernandez, Solutions Architect of Converged Edge Systems at HPE and Principal Investigator for Spaceborne Computer-2
On February 20, HPE’s Spaceborne Computer-2 is scheduled to launch into orbit for the ISS on the 15th Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission to Space Station (NG-15). Over the next two to three years, these research endeavors on the orbiting laboratory will be sponsored by the ISS National Labs.
Today’s announcement advances Azure Space in bringing Azure AI and machine learning to new space missions and emphasizes the true power of hyperscale computing in support of edge scenarios—connecting anyone, anywhere to the cloud. Our collaboration with HPE is just the first step in an incredible journey and will provide researchers and students access to these insights and technologies, inspiring the next generation of those who wish to invent with purpose, on and off the planet.