AS-202 computer core rope memory modules (parts 1 & 2)

  • AS-202 CM-011 exhibited on the USS Hornet.
  • AS-202 core rope memory module as shown by Francois Rautenbach. Image credit: Francois Rautenbach
Date:26 August 2016 Author: Nikky Knijf Tags:, , ,

A local man shows the recovered core rope memory modules from the AS-202 spacecraft. The AS-202 was the second unmanned suborbital test flight and is believed to have carried the world’s first microcomputer.

Francois Rautenbach was given the modules that were reportedly recovered from a rubbish dump and contain the software that was used to guide the Apollo AS-202. Although the circumstances around how the modules ended up at a rubbish dump 40 years ago are still a mystery, Rautenbach says he is on the lookout for more information about them.

Launched in July 1966, the AS-202 flight was designed to test the rocket system that would be used by the Apollo spacecraft 011 later that year. Spacecraft at the time were fitted with computers that used read-only core rope memory developed earlier in the decade.

In the video above Rautenbach demonstrated how he managed to extract the software from the Apollo Guidance Computer used during the flight. The video below shows the construction of the core rope memory modules and well as how Rautenbach confirmed the authenticity of these modules.

Video credit: Francois Rautenbach