Another space-faring calculator

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Are there any other brands beside HP and Elektronika that went into space?

Here’s some info from the Museum of Soviet Calculators:

A MIR calculator flew for one year in space. The property of Cosmonaut Yuri Romanenko. Offered with a letter of authentification from Romanenko’s son, in Russian with English translation. This calculator (Elektronika MK36) was used extensively by Romanenko for navigational and scientific work during his one-year flight aboard Space Station MIR in 1986 and 1987. This calculator covered more than 233,660,000 kilometers of space travel during its one-year orbital journey. A rare flown object from a Russian cosmonaut.

Elektronika Mk-36

Elektronika Mk-36

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Update on unidentified calculator

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I ran this picture (also seen in this post) by the hpmuseum.org forum members:

Unknown calculator

Unknown "calculator"

There are many calculator collectors in there and I figured one of them might be able to identify the “calculator”. It seems it might not even be a calculator after all, contrary to what the NASA caption says. Member Joerg surmised that it might be a data collector such as those manufactured by Telxon:

Telxon PTC-710

Telxon PTC-710

The resemblance and design definitely are striking and I consider the “case” closed. An additional tidbit of information about the company Telxon which may be relevant to this matter was found on this webpage:

Telxon was started in Texas in 1969 as Electronic Laboratories, Inc. by engineers who developed data recording devices for NASA and the FAA, the company was a pioneer in the mobile information systems industry.

Aristo 80123: the slide rule to have

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A slide rule designed by Aristo, a slide rule manufacturer, especially for Glenn L. Martin Company‘s engineers. This particular model was designed for calculations related to space travel and rocket engineering.

Some additional details about this model on this webpage.

Aristo 80123 Front

Aristo 80123 front

Aristo 80123 back

Aristo 80123 back

Aristo 80123 gutter view

Aristo 80123 gutter view

The Spacelab D1 mission

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Thanks to Dan at hpmuseum.org’s forum, here’s a significant addition to this blog. The HP-41 was used by german astronaut Ernst Messerschmid for importing voltmeter readings in Spacelab D1.

Spacelab D1

Spacelab D1

Here’s the text from Deutsches Museum:

D1-SPACELAB Mission, 1985
Walcher Elektronik GmbH, Kirchheim, 1985
Hewlett-Packard, USA, 1984

The voltmeter is an instrument for measuring voltage and temperature. It contains an analog-to-digital converter that feeds the measured values to the calculator for processing. The calculator is a slightly modified standard HP 41 calculator.

Astronaut Ernst Messerschmid devised this voltmeter to be used for experiments in materials science aboard the 1985 German D1 mission.

Actual Spacelab D1 HP-41CX

Actual Spacelab D1 HP-41CX

Handwritten HP-41CX program listing and diagram

Handwritten HP-41CX program listing and diagram

Ernst Messerschmid

Ernst Messerschmid

Additional pictures taken by Dan at the Deutsches Museum:

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Deutsches Museum HP-41CX exhibit

Circumstancial evidence II

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The detective work continues. Another blog comment:

I seem to recall that grooving the pavement on highways, for better traction, was an outgrowth of some of NASA’s research – on runways, which is possibly outside of Charlie’s parameters.

My father did the stress analysis of the cargo-bay arm on the shuttle launch pad with a hand-held calculator (HP-45) and pencil and paper (the younger engineers didn’t know where to start with it). That was in the 1970s (he retired in 1979). The company my sister works for did the aspherical glassware for the Hubble fix on computer-controlled equipment, in 1992 or 1993. That’s a big change right there.

HP-45

HP-45

Canadarm

Canadarm

“Private” space program with HP calculator

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This is a not-so-serious post about the movie “The astronaut farmer“. In the movie, the main character uses an old beat-up HP calculator to engineer his rocket. This makes sense, as you’ve read so far in this blog, because of the long-standing association of HP calculators and the american space program. Closer scrutiny of the keyboard layout of the calculator however reveals that the calculator is a HP-12C, a financial model. Considering the main character’s financial woes and main goal, this does not make sense. The props department should have chosen either a 10c, 11c or 15c.

Compare:

The Astronaut Farmers HP calculator

The Astronaut Farmer's HP calculator

HP-12C

HP-12C

Broken NASA link about HP-48 and HP-75

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Information from a forum posting at hpmuseum.org:

Have a look at Nasa material listings, including HP-48 and HP-75 keyboard overlays.

Not usefull reading, but interesting anyway…

http://map3.msfc.nasa.gov/mapweb/tr/tr1_manf_862_1.html

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