SSDs have been launched into space to help with ISS computing

Space and nerds often go hand in hand; There’s often so much space stuff in our PC gaming lives that we don’t even notice. We see amazing fan-made wonders like this beautiful Star Trek Shuttle PC (opens in new tab) and beautiful gear like these beautiful Destiny 2 Space Peripherals from SteelSeries (opens in new tab). Not to mention how often PC games are set in space.

Another thing PC gamers can’t get enough of is storage space. Whether you need more space to store games, programs or other entertainment content, SSDs are currently the best choice for fast and reliable, regularly used storage. As it turns out, this is just as true on Earth as above.

As it turns out, the International Space Station also needs additional storage space. The Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) Spaceborne Computer-2 is the first commercial edge computing and AI-enabled system deployed in space, allowing scientists on the station to analyze data without having to send it back to Earth. The time savings in transmission and communication should allow researchers to get a lot more work done while lazily floating around in space.

To help with the high-performance tasks that the HPE Spaceborne Computer-2 will handle, Kioxia provides flash-based SSDs that can be sent to the great afterlife. Kioxia is known for making serious enterprise storage solutions, like these drool-worthy CM7s (opens in new tab). These include the Kioxia RM Series Value SAS and Kioxia XG Series NVMe SSDs, which help with scientific simulation, deep learning, and real-time image processing applications on board the ISS.

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The Kioxia RM SAS is a corporate product designed to work with HPE ProLiant servers, so in theory it should work great with the HPE Spaceborne Computer-2, while the NVMe drive is known for its high performance in gaming laptops and PCs is. These aren’t drives I’ve personally had the privilege of using, but we’ve seen Kioxia flash work great when packaged in other storage solutions, like one of our favorite PCIe 4.0 SSDs (opens in new tab), the WD Black SN770 . (opens in new tab) To be fair, we’ve never used these in space either.

According to Kioxia, SSD-style flash storage is the best storage. “These flash-based SSDs are better suited than traditional hard drive storage to withstand the demands of space for power, performance and reliability because they have no moving parts, are less susceptible to electromagnetic waves and offer faster performance.” reads the press release ( opens in new tab).

We’ve come such a long way since the first space computers like the Gemini Guidance computer, which had 39-bit memory in a unique ferrite core. It’s definitely very cool, but nothing compared to what we’re seeing today. Companies like HP and Kioxa sending SSDs into space are a testament to how far computing technology has come at the final frontier. All I ask is that next time they send me up as well, I would be a great delivery person.