Jan 15, 2009

Science Scene: Rocket Science - NOT :o)

The content of this entry comes courtesy of Popular Science, February 2009 Edition.

Question: Does the space shuttle's computer really run on just one megabyte of RAM?

The brain of NASA's primary vehicle, known as the General Purpose Computer (GPC), has the computational power of an IBM 5150, that '80s icon. Such an antiquated computer works just fine for NASA. The GPC has just 0.005 percent of the power of an Xbox 360.

The shuttle does not need to support powerful graphics and such, only to support core functions like controlling the thrusters. No Windows, No Powerpoints, no games! The GPC has flown so many missions that there is no reason to replace it.

Interesting to know that the computers we are using to make Blogger entries, and to read said entries, have tremendously more computational power than the computers used to control the Space Shuttle. That is amazing.


  1. Oh WOW! That's a shocker. You come up with the best trivia and information.
    Hugs, Joyce

  2. Now that's something I thought they would of updated. At least we know they aren't playing solitaire on these expeditions. (Hugs)Indigo

  3. So I guess that means they're not running Vista. LOL

  4. I remember hearing this years ago and being shocked. But the explanation was point on - why load the newest, best computer and risk a software failure when you can run a time-tested oldie that does the job just fine?

  5. Hi Ken,
    Amazing and scary. I, for one, would like to think that NASA's finest at least have enough firepower to play a game of asteroids!

  6. I guess I agree with Slapinions on this one. If it's not broke, don't fix it!

    Have a good weekened.

  7. Yeah, but does it make toast and coffee?

  8. who has a processor that makes toast and coffee? i am so on that one!

  9. How boring, no games, no graphics = no fun! LOL


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