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A piece of memory from Gemini 3 spacecraft is up for auction

Nathan Ingraham
October 26, 2015
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Do you want a piece of the first computer on a manned spaceflight? Of course you do -- and you're in luck, because a piece of RANAM (Random Access Non-Destructive Readout) from the Gemini 3 spacecraft's computer is up for auction. Heritage Auctions notes that the 4,096-bit memory chip orbited the earth on March 23, 1965 as part of the first manned Gemini flight. The prior Mercury missions didn't require a computer, but Gemini needed both a second astronaut and an on-board computer that aided with six mission phases: prelaunch, ascent backup, insertion, catch-up, rendezvous and re-entry.

The chip itself was manufactured by IMB in Oswego, NY -- and while this chip is a relatively small component, the entire computer system weighed about 59 pounds. If you want to pick up this piece of the Gemini 3 computer (it would make a wonderful holiday gift), the auction is open from now through November 6th. Heritage Auctions estimates that it'll sell for between $1,200 and $1,800, though bidding is already up to $1,300 with a lot of time remaining.

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