A prototype of radiation-tolerant computer tech will soon be orbiting Earth. The Montana State University project was sent to the International Space Station (ISS) in late May and astronauts will launch the tiny satellite this summer. An MSU news release said the object is the size of a loaf of bread.

During its life orbiting the Earth, one computer on the platform will perform routine calculations and relay the information back to the Bozeman campus. Researchers will see if radiation in that area of space interrupts the calculations. During the testing, other processors, running in parallel on the satellite, might activate and correct any errors. The technology has already been tested in high altitude balloons and on the ISS, too. The MSU team has been working on the radiation problem for about 10 years, involving over 50 students. Professor Brock LaMeres and graduate student Skylar Tamke provided leadership and tech support to the primary team of nine senior engineering students. LaMeres and Tamke attended the launch at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The MSU Space Science and Engineering Laboratory has designed, manufactured and sent nine satellites into space so far under NASA grants.