New single board computers used on the ISS as part of
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New single-board computers used on the ISS as part of the AstroPi program

The European astronaut Matthias Maurer used and started single-board computers on the ISS as part of the project AstroPi… The project, launched six years ago, aims to increase the popularity of programming among young people: young specialists can send their code to these machines and it will be executed.

Image source: astro-pi.org

Image source: astro-pi.org

New computers for the AstroPi project were created last September and sent to the ISS aboard the SpaceX Dragon 2 cargo ship in December, replacing the outdated Edu and Izzy that had been in orbit for nearly 6 years. Two days ago, the German Matthias Maurer provided a new kit at the station, which contains a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, a 12.3 megapixel camera and a set of different sensors. Young participants in the Mission Space Lab and Mission Zero from Earth programs learn various skills: for example, they can write a program that the machine uses to measure the humidity and display its value to the residents of the ISS.

“Almost exactly six years after Tim Peake installed the first Astro Pi devices, we have new aircraft at the station. With a Raspberry Pi 4 and a high-quality 12MP camera (not to mention very expensive optics) these are significantly more powerful devices than their predecessors. We can’t wait to see what the guys at Mission Space Lab and Mission Zero can do to them. “– commented on the event from the head of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Eben Upton.

And on earthly questions, Mr. Upton could not say anything encouraging: It is becoming more and more difficult to test the code on site, as the global scarcity of chips has also affected the Raspberry Pi. After Christmas, the sellers ran out of supplies of single-board computers. Now a new batch has appeared in the company’s warehouses, manufactured in December and not had time to hit the market until the holidays, but is already gradually being sold to dealers. The deficit, said the boss of the Raspberry Pi, will continue for some time, but he already considers it to be an increased demand and not a reduced production volume. The company has so far been unable to increase production to overcome this problem.

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Dylan Harris

Dylan Harris is fascinated by tests and reviews of computer hardware.

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