In 1986, a group of NASA engineers faced a difficult choice when solving their data processing problems: continue to tolerate the poor performance of the PC architecture, or spend money to buy exotic workstations. It turns out that Commodore Amiga is an interesting third choice, but paradoxically, Its cost is not enough. Oh, Apple doesn’t want to have anything to do with it.
NASA’s hangar AE has a long history and is a hub for carrier rocket telemetry and other mission communications, mainly during the pre-launch phase of the Cape Canaveral launch. Throughout the late 20th century, Hangar AE supported NASA launch vehicles of various shapes and sizes, evolving from Atlas-Centaur to the powerful Titan series. It even supports user data from the space shuttle program. The telemetry data of these missions are processed in Hangar AE, and then sent to other NASA researchers, and even transmitted to other participating space agencies on a global scale.
After decades of astronomical funding levels have fallen, the 1980s were all about tightening their belts, and NASA needed budget solutions that were not stingy about mission safety. Commodore Amiga proved to be the right choice for handling launch vehicle telemetry. Therefore, when the Amiga Atlanta Group cameras were allowed to shoot in Hangar AE, the situation remained the same.
The video below was taken in 1998, more than ten years after the first Amiga computer was installed in Hangar AE. It is fascinating (not surprising) to hear that the Apple Macintosh is the first choice for computing hardware. However, as a closed system, engineers cannot access the required level of Macintosh, nor can they develop the customized hardware needed to support its operation. In contrast, Commodore is more willing to send a large number of documents to NASA to help them. Good job!
Gary Jones, then NASA’s chief systems engineer, went on to say that Amiga was an unpopular choice for his employer. “They want us to buy a PC and run Windows 95 and NT. We have been trying to tell them that it is not fast enough, so they tell us to buy DEC Alphas. We tell them it is too expensive. They don’t like Amiga; the cost is not enough.” Oops.
The video took place during STS-89 and its mission to the Mir space station.It seems that some of them have lost time, but An old blog post filled some knowledge gaps, It is very worth seeing, and has a retro taste in itself.Reports indicate that these machines were not put into use until 2006, and one of them Actually sold Not long ago.
So the sentence is, “Only Amiga can do it.”
[Thanks to JohnU for this great retro computing tip!]
[Pictures from Amiga Atlanta/Mike Ellenberg]