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RE: RE: starship-design: unmanned missions

L. Parker writes:
 > Kelly,
 > My understanding was that the original shuttle computers were running some
 > sort of version of DOS on 8086s. Is this true?
 > Lee

My understanding is that the Shuttle flight computers are
derivatives of the IBM 360 architechture designed for space use,
and in fact were also programmed by IBM.  The 8086 was barely
even out when the first Shuttle launched, let alone out long
enough to have a radiation-hardened version suitable for
man-rated equipment and for the flight control software to be
developed on them.

I also recall that the Shuttle flight computers have something
like 256K of memory, which for the time was quite a bit.

As far as I know the main flight computers haven't been replaced
yet, although there is quite a bit of extra computer hardware on
the Shuttle now, like a head-up display system.  It's not cheap
or easy to replace flight control computers for man-rated
hardware, especially if there's no particularly great need to.