NASA HP-41CV donated to Ladd Observatory at Brown University

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Beautiful pictures of a space shuttle HP-41CV (pictures courtesy of Ladd Observatory and Brown University).

The date code is 2303S, meaning it was manufactured back in 1983 (probably in Singapore). It was donated to Brown University with no batteries or software installed. As you can see though, it’s fully functional. SMS means “Shuttle Mission Simulator”.

HP-41CV

NASA tag

Module section

Open battery compartment

Custom overlay

Another shot of the overlay

Custom pouch

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Recent find on eBay

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It’s been awhile since I last posted in this blog. I decided to sell a few calculators today on eBay (a non-functional HP-67, a HP-41CV, a HP-38G, a HP-41 Surveryor I pac and a Sharp EL-5100) and I found by chance an auction about a vintage 1981 HP digest catalog with information about the HP-41C, HP-67 and HP-97 related to the space program. I do not have the money to buy the catalog (my other guitar hobby takes precedence these days) but the seller posted really big pics of the interesting information. I downloaded the pics and here they are…

For those interested in bidding on the catalog, here’s the link while it lasts:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-1981-HP-Digest-Catalog-HP-41c-HP-67-HP-97-Rare-/220775559859?pt=Calculators&hash=item33673fb2b3#ht_1130wt_907

 

Last chapter on unidentified calculator

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It seems we finally have a positive match for our unidentified calculator. Someone at HP Museum’s forum found these two models, Intermec 9444 and 9445. If you compare these closely to the original shuttle picture, you will notice that key layout and colors match, design matches and you can even almost match the logo.

UPDATE: a close examination of a high-def picture sent by NASA to the HP forum reveals that it clearly is an Intermec 9445.

Intermec 9444 and 9445

Intermec 9444 and 9445

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.

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

Onboard shuttle computer equivalent in computer power to HP-48SX

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So says this article:

Intel Coppermines won’t go in rockets… phew
But x86 technology does soar to the skies

By Mike Magee

Posted in Business, 16th December 1999 13:13 GMT

A source at a US defence firm has written us to re-assure the people of the world that they need not fear that missiles will use the elusive Coppermine microprocessor. That follows reports that we carried about an erratumnotbug found in some batches of the CuMine chip. The reader, who wishes to remain anonymous for entirely understandable reasons, said there is “absolutely zero chance” that Coppermines would get used in the control circuitry of missiles. According to him, any chip used in the critical control path of a missile, space probe or aircraft has to be proved to be worthy and produced in ceramic packaging. The processors may not also use fans. But according to the source, Intel does produce 8086 to 386 chips for the military and has to guarantee 25 years support for these parts. Embedded applications use clocked down surface mounted mobile parts. And here’s a really fun and interesting part of this tale. The Space Shuttle has an onboard computer with the power of a 48SX HP calculator, and the astronauts take on board an HP 48SX pre-programmed with the Shuttle’s flight plan, in case of navigation failures with the onboard computer. This HP model has a serial port and 64K of memory…

HP-48SX

HP-48SX

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