The EU wants to send data centers into space to fight climate change. The project is managed by Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space.
The increase in data volume is spurring the creation of new data centers around the world. However, it has a huge impact on the environment. This has prompted the European Union to seek alternatives for future data centers to reduce global warming. As part of the ASCEND initiative, it is planned to study the feasibility of putting data centers into orbit. By this way it will be possible to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The project is part of the overall Horizon Europe program and is the ninth EU research and innovation programme. It is designed for 7 years – from 2020 to 2027. A total of 95.5 billion euros will be earmarked for this. That is, ASCEND has already received a 2 million euro grant.
Thales Alinea Space will evaluate the feasibility of launching data centers into orbit. Also, other companies involved in the IT and space technology sectors will also participate in the project. In the first phase, it is planned to assess whether the level of carbon emissions from the launches is lower than the operation of data centers on Earth.
Technically speaking, orbital data centers are known to be powered by a solar battery and use high-speed optical communication channels for data transmission. Although it is not yet clear how to “pack” massive data centers into compact modules that can be placed on a rocket. It is not clear how to repair and maintain such systems. Perhaps it will be implemented with the help of robots.
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