Space Data:

Information on Data Storage Technologies

IMTEC-90-88FS: Published: Sep 12, 1990. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed information on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) future storage needs, focusing on the general characteristics and costs of its data storage technologies.

GAO found that: (1) NASA estimated that its anticipated annual volume of archived data will rise from 63 terabits in 1990 to more than 4,200 terabits by the end of the decade; (2) data storage technologies that NASA could use included magnetic reels, the 3480-compatible magnetic tape cartridge, the Helical scan, the compact disk-read only memory, the write once read many optical disk, the rewritable optical disk, and optical tape; and (3) the choice of a data-storage medium depended on the amount of data to be archived, the medium's storage capacity, and the cost of the medium and supporting equipment needed to access it.

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