Microsoft to support HPE's Spaceborne Computer with Azure connectivity, AI processing at the edge

Microsoft and HPE are partnering to bring together Azure and the Spaceborne Computer-2 supercomputer, making it the ultimate edge-computing device.

Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) said they'll be working together to connect Azure to HPE's Spaceborne Computer-2. The pair are touting the partnership as bringing compute and AI capabilities to the ultimate edge device -- a supercomputer in space.

HP and NASA partnered to build the Spaceborne Computer, which is a commercial, off-the-shelf supercomputer. The HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 is designed to simulate computation loads during space travel via data-intensive applications. On February 20, HPE's Spaceborne Computer-2 is scheduled to launch into orbit on the 15th Northrop Grumman Resupply Mission to Space Station (NG-15). 

By handling processing in space, customers will be able to gain new information and research advancements in areas like weather modeling; plant and hydroponics analysis; and medical imaging for astronauts on the International Space Station, officials said.

The HP-Microsoft Spaceborne announcement is an extension of Microsoft's Azure Space initiative, announced in October 2020. Azure Space is a set of products, plus newly announced partnerships designed to position Azure as a key player in the space- and satellite-related connectivity/compute part of the cloud market.

In other Azure news, Microsoft announced today it will add an East US 3 datacenter region in Georgia (Fulton and Douglas counties). The company didn't provide a date when it would be open, but said it will offer Azure Availability Zones there, which provides support for avoiding/lessening the impacts of datacenter failures. Later this year, Microsoft will launch its already-announced West US3 region in Arizona, officials added.