Seagate and Ball Aerospace are developing high capacity hard drives for
Hardware

Seagate and Ball Aerospace are developing high-capacity hard drives for space

reportedthat Ball Aerospace and Seagate Technology Holdings will jointly develop and test high-capacity commercial computing and storage devices for space mission applications. Storing large amounts of data onboard spacecraft will allow for better management of communication channels and, in general, increase the computing power of alien vehicles. In addition, conventional drives are not suitable for work in space.

    Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

On the Hubble Space Telescope, the drive capacity is only 2GB, although the Webb has a 68GB drive. It seems that for a $10 billion project you couldn’t save and put in something more decent. But high-capacity drives for space just don’t exist. Such drives not only have to withstand considerable physical stress, which SSDs can cope with relatively easily, but they also have to be resistant to radiation exposure. For this reason, small-capacity memories based on radiation-resistant memories, such as FeRAM, are initially sent into space on board the vehicles.

Ball Aerospace and Seagate Technology have partnered to deliver cost-effective, high-capacity storage solutions for space applications. Engineers from both companies are currently testing and customizing their respective devices. Seagate drives will be integrated with Ball Aerospace software and hardware, although they will retain “commercial” interfaces, important for market expansion and unification.

The developers plan to solve the problem of radiation protection using redundant coding, multiple recording of the same information and using tricky read/write error recovery algorithms. If the data isn’t permanently destroyed, Seagate is confident it can be recovered.

So far, experiments with radiation effects on Seagate hard drives are being conducted on Earth in Ball Aerospace’s labs. The partners plan to carry out the first tests in space in 2023 on board a satellite in low-Earth orbit, where radiation is generally sparse.

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Dylan Harris

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

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