Special Purpose Computer, Magic I Space Guidance Computer


This was the first of a family of devices for space guidence, and a 1972 gift to the museum from the Delco Electronics Division of General Motors Corporation. According to the accession file, DELCO was an offshoot of the AC Electronics Division of General Motors, which in turn grew out of its AC Spark Plug Division. AC Electronics provided inertial guidance systems for the THOR and TITAN II ballistic missiles, for the TITAN III space booster, and for the APOLLO command modules and lunar modules. The THOR system used an analog computing unit, and the others all used digital computing units purchased by AC. Recognizing the importance of digital techniques to advanced guidance and navigation systems, AC set up a digital computer research and development laboratory in 1959. The first tangible product of this lab was this MAGIC I computer. It has a relatively compact green metal housing (27.8 cm w. x 48 cm. d. x 23.7 cm h.) and contains a serial ferrite core memory designed to function over a wide range of temperatures and to withstand vibration and shock. It has monolithic integrated logic circuits that use components purchased from Fairchild in 1961. There also are welded electronic modules for the non-logic circuits. With this construction, AC Electronics hoped to improve reliability, and lower weight, power consumption, volume, and cost.

The MAGIC I was the subject of a paper presented at a Spaceborne Computer Engineering Conference in October of 1962 (for a reprint, see 305778.02). This particular MAGIC never flew in space, but was the forerunner of several successful company products

Date Made: ca 1962

Maker: General Motors Corporation

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: United States: California, El Segundo

See more items in: Medicine and Science: Computers


Exhibition Location:

Credit Line: Gift of General Motors

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: CI.330820Accession Number: 305776Catalog Number: 330820

Object Name: Special Purpose Computer

Guid: http://n2t.net/ark:/65665/ng49ca746a1-334d-704b-e053-15f76fa0b4fa

Record Id: nmah_334754

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