Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Ex-CDA comments, suggestions, criticisms

The Australian 31 October, 1967

Unit to aid space launch

A computer system located in one of the most remote corners of the world is a key part of the ELDO* programme in Australia to put a space vehicle in orbit next year.

Installed in a caravan, the computer is an integral component of the down-range guidance and telemetry station at Gove, right in the north-east corner of Arnhem Land.

Gove was selected as the site for the guidance station because it is due north of the launching site at Woomera, 1200 miles to the south.

In addition to the computer, the guidance system at Gove comprises a guidance command transmitter, a guidance interferometer, and a telemetry system from Holland.

The computer is a Control Data 3200 with a 16k store and scientifically oriented for real-time application.

The control of the guidance system is centred in a large transportable van equipped with the central guidance and team leader consoles.  Nearby, in support are two more similar vans – one housing the computer, and the other the power distribution and air conditioning plants ...”

* Editor : ELDO (European Launcher Development Organisation).   

Although a 3200 was perhaps larger than most, mobile computers on the backs of trucks were used during the Vietnam War - certainly Honeywell systems which resulted in anto-war protestors blasting their ground floor data centre window with shotgun pellets circa 1970 (an incident which caused me to reconsider their job offer in favour of a more peaceful life at 598),

Prior to my switch, I was at NCR, and although it was kept pretty quiet, they also has a number of Century series systems on mobile carriers in Vietnam.

Priscilla : What The Oz Said ...