Gemini 3 flown chip to star in sale at Heritage Auctions

A Gemini 3 (1965) flown RANAM (Random Access Non-Destructive Readout) chip is to star in a sale of space memorabilia at Heritage Auctions.

It's valued at $1,200-1,800.

Gemini chip Heritage
The Gemini 3 craft needed to undertake more complex maneuvers than its predecessors

The chip formed part of the on-board computer, the first time such a device was used on a spacecraft.

It was needed due to the increased complexity of the inflight manoeuvres.

The computer was designed by the IBM Federal Systems Division and was the first digital computer in space.  

It also featured a number of other innovations that significantly advanced the development of the computer.  

The IBM archives feature a description of the device: "The computer weighed approximately 59 pounds, performed more than 7,000 calculations a second, and needed no more room than a hatbox - 1.35 cubic feet - aboard the Gemini.

"It had an average power consumption of 94.54 watts, a 500 kc bit rate, a memory cycle time of 250 kc and an add time of 140 microseconds.

"The computer's memory was a random-access, nondestructive readout design with flexible instruction and data storage organization.

"Its nominal capacity was 4,096 39-bit words and its operational capacity was 12,288 13-bit words."  

The sale will also include a rare Apollo 17 Robbins medal.

We have an incredible selection of memorabilia for sale from across the history of the space race.

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