Space-rated Jetson AI supercomputer in re-entry demonstration

Space-rated Jetson AI supercomputer in re-entry demonstration

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A GPU supercomputer for space applications has been part of a demonstration of re-entry and  reuse of space electronics.

The Nvidia-based S-A1760 Venus AI supercomputer from Aitech was part of the NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID). This was

Six S-A1760 Venus general purpose GPUs (GPGPUs) were onboard to help control and record the visible and infrared camera images from each of the six camera pods viewing the LOFTID heatshield. The GPGPU helped ensure recovery of the backup recordings for the mission’s captured camera data and provided critical intelligence on the aeroshell/heatshield performance.

These use the Jetson TX2i system-on-module (SoM) from Nvidia with 256 CUDA cores and reaches 1 TFLOPS of processing.

The S-A1760 Venus is a small form factor (SFF) AI supercomputer that boasts a robust set of I/O interfaces including Gigabit Ethernet, UART Serial, USB 2.0, CANbus and discretes as well as DVI/HDMI output. Video capture includes an HD-SDI input with a dedicated H.264 encoder and eight RS-170A (NTSC)/PAL composite channels available simultaneously.

NASA’s LOFTID demonstrated a cross-cutting aeroshell – a type of heat shield – for atmospheric re-entry. The inflatable decelerator technology is scalable for both crewed and large robotic missions to Mars, and the results of the November 10th LOFTID demonstration will inform future designs for inflatable heat shields that could be used to land heavier payloads on worlds with atmospheres, including Mars, Venus, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Earth.

“Driving innovation is at the heart of what we do, so being a part of this groundbreaking mission makes all of us at Aitech incredibly proud. Not only have we put the first GPGPU into space, but we’ve helped make great strides in more affordable, reusable technology for the entire space industry as well as enable exploration into deeper orbits,” said Pratish Shah, US General Manager of Aitech.

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