Single Board Computers:
On December 21, NASA launched into space a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which carried the Dragon 2 spacecraft loaded with various equipment for astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS).
- The launch marked the 24th cargo mission of billionaire Elon Musk’s rocket company to the ISS for the space agency.
- Nestled among these devices were a pair of computers about the size of a set top box. They aren’t the usual laptops or desktops we use every day. The two single board computers (SBC) don’t have a monitor attached to them.
- An SBC is built on a single circuit board, which houses a microprocessor, memory unit, input/output channels, and other features required for a functional computer.
- The duo part of the Dragon 2 consignment, called Astro Pi, were built by the non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).
- The mini-computers are equipped with an 8GB RAM, high-quality camera, Google Coral machine learning accelerator, colour and luminosity sensor, and passive infrared sensor.
- All of these sensors are packed inside a space-ready aluminium case that makes the hardware suitable for running codes on the ISS.
- This is the second time the non-profit has sent its SBCs to the ISS.
- In 2015, British ESA astronaut Tim Peake took the first two Astro Pis as part of the Principia mission.
- The ones that reached the ISS recently were upgraded for more advanced computing projects.