Aethero's edge computer set to fly on the SpaceX Falcon-9 Transporter 11 rideshare features Nvida’s Jetson Orin NX graphics processing unit. Credit: Aethero

SAN FRANCISCO – Cosmic Shielding Corp. is supporting the upcoming launch of a radiation-hardened edge computer from San Francisco startup Aethero.

The computer, scheduled to fly July 10 on the SpaceX Falcon-9 Transporter-11 rideshare from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, includes Nvida’s Jetson Orin NX graphics processing unit.

“It’s going to be the fastest AI-capable chip in space,” Yanni Barghouty, CSC co-founder and CEO, told SpaceNews.

Atlanta-based CSC, founded in 2021, began testing its 3D-printed nanocomposite metal material, called Plasteel, on a 2023 Axiom Space mission to the International Space Station. Additional CSC Plasteel and radiation detectors were sent into low-Earth orbit in March on a Quantum Space satellite.

The upcoming flight will demonstrate CSC’s ability to protect a commercial-off-the-shelf “flight computer using extremely vulnerable components,” Barghouty said.

Lead Time, Cost and Availability

If the demonstration is successful, it may help convince space companies to forgo radiation-hardened components designed for spaceflight.

“Being able to tap into that terrestrial semiconductor industry supply chain would do wonders for lead times and availability,” Barghouty said. “Then, being able to use these COTS systems safely is huge for cost.”

The powerful GPUs offer advantages for Earth-observation and high-throughput-communications satellites as well as space-based data centers and in-space servicing, assembly, manufacturing, Barghouty said.

CSC began working with Aethero in March. After using CSC’s proprietary technology to enclose Aethero’s NxN edge computing module for the upcoming flight, the companies talked about jointly offering a new line of computers, Barghouty said.

“Cosmic Shielding is the only company we’ve seen to offer shielding that makes it possible for advanced state-of-the-art processors to operate in deep space for long-term missions,” Edward Ge, Aethero CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “Enabling spacecraft to perform computationally heavy tasks will be a major bottleneck if we ever want to be a multi-planetary species.”

Debra Werner is a correspondent for SpaceNews based in San Francisco. Debra earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University. She...