Intel Chip Set to Drive Data Systems for Private Spacecraft Venture

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-08-18 Print this article Print

Intel is providing its new Tolapai chip set and storage vendor Dot Hill is providing the data storage arrays for Hermes, a private space travel project. The Dot Hill arrays using the Tolapai chip sets will provide real-time feedback to the flight crew for the Hermes shuttle, which is being designed to eventually reach a suborbital altitude of 62 miles.

SAN FRANCISCO-The world's largest chip maker and a relatively little-known data storage company are teaming up to provide a major portion of the IT system for a space travel project that might one day turn into a commercial venture.

Intel is providing its new "Tolapai" chip set, and Dot Hill Systems, a small, independent storage array company, is handling all the data storage requirements.

No, this isn't the Spaceship Two project headed by designer Burt Rutan and backed by maverick entrepreneur Richard Branson, who also is developing a commercial space bus.

This is the Hermes Spacecraft, a space shuttle designed by another entrepreneur, Morris Jarvis of Mesa, Ariz. Hermes is being developed on the premise that anyone should be able to take a trip into space.

But such a flight will never be cheap; a project spokesperson said a seat for one person will be about "the cost of a new car." However, anybody who's been auto shopping lately knows that you can buy a new Kia for tens of thousands of dollars less than, say, a new Maserati, so there's a lot of latitude in that statement.

Those tickets have to be expensive. Jarvis has said it will cost about $1.5 million to raise the craft skyward on a test flight with a helium balloon, and that launching it with a rocket engine would cost about $5.4 million. The ship will only carry a few people-most likely six to eight.

Specifically, Jarvis' business plan provides for space travelers paying $25,000 for a trip powered by a helium balloon and $100,000 for a rocket-powered ride.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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