Industry Expert Blogs
HPSC: RISC-V in SpaceBreakfast Bytes - Paul McLellan
Jan. 27, 2023
NASA needs a new computer. Being NASA, of course, this has an acronym, HPSC. Unusually for NASA, this has four letters, not three. Remember back in the Apollo program (assuming you were born) when we all knew what TLI, LEM, and all the rest stood for? HPSC stands for High Performance Space Computer. The plan is that in the future, everything that NASA and JPL (NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA) will be HPSC-based, but there is also an expectation that it will have commercial applications such as in aviation. Space missions are largely autonomous, and that requires computer power. Lots of it. Very early on, it was decided that the new HPSC would use RISC-V for its ISA, not something proprietary or something NASA/JPL created themselves. In fact, I think it most unlikely that anyone will ever again define an ISA that is not RISC-V based.