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 The Apollo program contributed to computer development 
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
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The co-investment between defense and civilian space was very real and hugely important," said Hubbard.

"With Apollo, they needed to cut down on weight and power consumption. Mass into space equals money," he said. "It has been and continues to be about $10,000 a pound to get to lower Earth orbit. They certainly don't want computers that take up basketball courts. They want something very powerful and very light that doesn't take massive power. That was one of the driving requirements that led to the development of the integrated circuit, where you put all the components on a chip rather than having a board stuffed with individual transistors and other circuit components."

He added that the microchip took the high-tech industry to a place of mass production and economies of scale.

"There was a major shift in electronics and computing and at least half credit goes to Apollo," said Hubbard. "Without it, you wouldn't have a laptop. You'd still have things like the Univac."


http://www.computerworld.com/article/25 ... story.html

The 68000 was on the Space Shuttle because they had a radiation hardened version:

Quote:
The 68000 line of processors has been used in a variety of systems, from modern high-end Texas Instruments calculators (the TI-89, TI-92, and Voyage 200 lines) to all of the members of the Palm Pilot series that run Palm OS 1.x to 4.x (OS 5.x is ARM-based), and even radiation hardened versions in the critical control systems of the Space Shuttle. However, they became most well known as the processors powering desktop computers such as the Apple Macintosh, the Commodore Amiga, the Sinclair QL, the Atari ST, and several others.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_68000_series

Quote:
Built by Honeywell Aerospace, each MEC originally comprised two redundant Honeywell HDC-601 computers,[12] later upgraded to a system composed of two doubly redundant Motorola 68000 (M68000) processors (for a total of 4 M68000s per controller).[13]


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_main_engine


Quote:
[132] ....the early 1980s, Marshall Space Flight Center began studying a Block II controller design because it was becoming impossible to find parts and programmers for the late 1960s components of the Block I183. The revised computer uses a Motorola 68000 32-bit microprocessor. When selected, it was clearly the state of the art. Instead of plated wire, a CMOS-type semiconductor random-access memory is used. Finally, the software is written in the high-level programming language, C. Such a computer reflects the current design and components of a ground-based, powerful digital control system. The C language is also known as an excellent tool for software systems development. In fact, the UNIX operating system is coded in it.


http://history.nasa.gov/computers/Ch4-8.html

The CPUs of Spacecraft
Computers in Space

http://www.cpushack.com/space-craft-cpu.html


Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:55 pm
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It seems pretty clear that the space program, and the development of the ICBM, propelled computer technology many years further ahead then would have happened otherwise.

I can't remember the exact number but I read somewhere that the AGC used up half of the supply of NOR gate ICs produced at the time. Or there abouts.

I didn't know the 68K was used on the space shuttle. Cool!

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Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:13 pm
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Aslak3 wrote:
I didn't know the 68K was used on the space shuttle. Cool!


There is a lot of computer history that will be missing because this generation is not seeking to preserve it.

I had a hard time finding certain information on the 68000. What I remember reading back yesterday was that the government sold the 68000 to the private sector and the second wave of Amiga users don't know because they didn't start with the first Amigas.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:10 pm
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I'm a bit confused about this part: "the government sold the 68000 to the private sector and the second wave of Amiga users don't know because they didn't start with the first Amigas."

?


Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:41 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
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When Amiga went bankrupt, I know a lot of people who sold their Amiga computers. They bought Mac and IBM.
There was a lull for a while. The original users hated IBM but today's users don't.

The generation that is active today aren't all the original buyers of Amiga. Some of these are kids who inherited the Amiga.

As far as trying to figure out how Motorolla got the 68000, I found this:

Quote:
Beginning in 1958 with Explorer 1 Motorola provided radio equipment for most NASA space-flights for decades including during the 1969 moon landing. A year later it established a subsidiary to conduct licensing and manufacturing for international markets.

Motorola created numerous products for use by the government, public safety officials, business installments, and the general public. These products included cell phones, laptops, computer processors, and radio communication devices.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola

What I'm missing is to know the rest of the story.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:04 pm
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Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 8:03 am
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Location: California
Quote:
There is a lot of computer history that will be missing because this generation is not seeking to preserve it.

A town near us used to have a lot of great used-book stores. Gradually most of them went out of business, probably because of the internet, video games, and who knows what else. I remember a great section on computers in one of them though, and then the store changed hands, and it disappeared. The reason given was that the new owner figured that in the area of computers, people don't want old, useless stuff. I'm left thinking, "Excuse me, this is a used-book store, for a reason!" There was a lot of great history there, which becomes more and more valuable in my estimation, not less and less, as time goes on and we can have a greater and greater appreciation for where this all got started, and the brilliant and resourceful things that were done back when they did not yet have the hardware and software foundation laid that we enjoy today. Fortunately we are now able to watch online videos from the Computer History Museum for example. I do wish I had bought more of those old books back when there were right in front of me though and I could thumb through them, read a little, and take them to the counter and pay a dollar or two.

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Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:45 pm
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Chuckt wrote:
As far as trying to figure out how Motorolla got the 68000, I found this:

Quote:
Beginning in 1958 with Explorer 1 Motorola provided radio equipment for most NASA space-flights for decades including during the 1969 moon landing. A year later it established a subsidiary to conduct licensing and manufacturing for international markets.

Motorola created numerous products for use by the government, public safety officials, business installments, and the general public. These products included cell phones, laptops, computer processors, and radio communication devices.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola

What I'm missing is to know the rest of the story.


Sorry ChuckT, I don't get it. The 68000 was developed in house by Motorola, starting in 1976. The first part in the 68K series was released in 1979.

Here's a nice example of someone being "wrong on the internet":

http://www.oldschooldaw.com/forums/inde ... pic=1252.0

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Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:53 pm
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A good source of information about the history of computing is the Computer History Museum's oral histories. There's one on 6800 and one on 68000 (as well as many other topics)
http://www.computerhistory.org/collecti ... /102702020
http://www.computerhistory.org/collecti ... /102658164

ETA: Byte ran a couple of articles about the design process of the 6809, which can be read here:
http://tlindner.macmess.org/wp-content/ ... ticles.pdf

My take is that Moto made their name in car radios (hence the name) and did very well in automotive markets with the 6800 and later CPUs. Of course they also sold into military markets, but they would have needed the volume from the civilian markets.

But I've surely read somewhere that Apollo, or the ICBM programs, made up half the demand for semiconductors for some years in the 60s.


Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:39 pm
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Joined: Wed Jan 16, 2013 2:33 am
Posts: 165
Aslak3 wrote:
Chuckt wrote:

What I'm missing is to know the rest of the story.


Sorry ChuckT, I don't get it. The 68000 was developed in house by Motorola, starting in 1976. The first part in the 68K series was released in 1979.

Here's a nice example of someone being "wrong on the internet":

http://www.oldschooldaw.com/forums/inde ... pic=1252.0


Duly noted.


Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:53 am
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1257
(I've added a link to a pair of BYTE articles about the 6809 to my post above.)


Fri Jan 29, 2016 7:59 am
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