Today we announce our partnership with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) to connect Azure directly to space with the upcoming launch of HPE Space-based computer-2 (SBC-2), which will for the first time jointly provide edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) on the International Space Station (ISS). The SBC-2 is based on the HPE Edgeline Converged Edge system, which was specially developed for harsh edge environments and offers additional connection options Azure workloads to the very edge.

Astronauts and space explorers deserve access to the best cloud computing technologies and advanced processing at the highest level. Sometimes the analysis needs to be done right away at the edge where every moment counts, and sometimes the analysis is so complex that it can only be done with the power of the hyperscale cloud. Microsoft and HPE have connected Spaceborne Computer-2 to Microsoft Azure (through NASA and the HPE Ground Station) to address these challenges and develop new insights and opportunities.

Currently, our Microsoft Research and Azure Space development teams are evaluating the potential of state-of-the-art HPE Space processing in conjunction with Hyperscale Azure, and developing advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning models to support new model insights and research advances, including:

  • Weather modeling of dust storms to enable future modeling for Mars missions.
  • Plant and hydroponic analysis to support food growth and life sciences in space.
  • Ultrasound medical imaging on the ISS in support of astronaut health care.

“HPE and Microsoft are working together to accelerate space exploration by providing cutting edge technology to meet a range of computing needs 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, and Microsoft Azure to connect to the cloud, we enable Space Explorers to seamlessly transfer large amounts of data from and to to ground and benefit from an edge-to-cloud experience. We look forward to working with Microsoft on their Azure Space efforts, who share our vision of accelerating discovery and making breakthroughs to support life and sustainability in the future and expand human missions to space. “ -DR. Mark Fernandez, Solutions Architect for 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 the Space Station (NG-15). Over the next two to three years, this research in the orbit laboratory will be funded by the ISS National Labs.

Today’s announcement is moving forward Azure Space By bringing Azure AI and machine learning into new space missions and highlighting the true power of hyperscale computing to support edge scenarios – connecting all users to the cloud. Our collaboration with HPE is just the first step in an incredible journey and provides researchers and students with access to these insights and technologies. This inspires the next generation of those who want to invent on and off the planet on purpose.


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