Author Topic: Identify NASA Apollo/Skylab computer tapes  (Read 2835 times)

Offline apollo16uvc

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Identify NASA Apollo/Skylab computer tapes
« on: April 16, 2020, 04:33:46 PM »
Greetings Apollohoaxforum,

For the past few years I and other volunteers have been busy with several NASA mainframe computers tapes in my collection.
These tape reels are from the 70's meant to be used in large computers common in those days.

There are two sets: Switch Action Table Tapes used on Apollo 16 and Skylab, and Pioneer 10/11 imagery tapes.

We have been able to recover data from both sets, and were even able to process the raw photography data from the Pioneer tapes to complete photos that match NASA records.

But lets talk about the Apollo/Skylab tapes for now:

These tapes originated from General Electric, Space Divison, Apollo and Ground systems. They were send to NASA's Marshal Space Flight Center.
They date from the 70's. The dates predate the actual launch.
On the tapes are written launch vehicle IDs that match Apollo 16 and Skylab missions.

SAT tape 1179, Apollo 16 in our tape streamer:

SAT tape 1179 front:

SAT tape 1820 front:

The data written on the SAT tapes is IBM EBDIC, basically IBM's variant of modern ASCII. And so, we were easily able to convert the EBDIC data to ASCII to make it readable on modern computer systems.

Here are some random samples from the tape:

Header appears to be block 0 to 12:

Block 10:

R/L 40M17360-11   E/O 8S-0412    REV L    D/I 10/27/71   ECP 10-3216   E                                                           

Block 12:

R/L 40M17360-11   E/O 8S-0413    REV M    D/I 10/28/71   ECP 10-3206   E   511 FRT-1

Block 6954:

S     73 00 L DO 1728  IVB COLD HE XOVER VLV CLOSED       NONE     C J                                                             

Block 6955:

S     73 01 L DO 1729  IVB COLD HE XOVER VLV OPEN         NONE     C J                                                             

Block 6957:

S     73 02 L DO 1730  IVB LOX TANK PRESSURIZED           NONE     C J       

Block 11407:

S     53 07 M DI 2767  IVB STATUS SAFE AND ARM SAFE       NONE     R J                                                             

Block 11408:

S     53 08 M DI 2768  IVB EBW NO 1 PWR ON                NONE     R J                                                             

Block 11410:

S     53 09 M DI 2769  IVB EBW NO 2 PWR ON                NONE     R J                                                             

Block 11411:

S     53 10 M DI 2770  IVB RSCR NO 1 PWR ON               NONE     R J                                                             

Block 11412:

S     53 11 M DI 2771  IVB RSCR NO 2 PWR ON               NONE     R J       

Block 20981:

D           D EE 4296  INT SPARE                                                                                                   

Block 20982:

D           D EE 4297  INT LEFT HOOK OPEN NO. 2                                                                                     

Block 20984:

D           D EE 4298  INT RIGHT HOOK OPEN NO. 2                                                                                   

Block 20985:

D           D EE 4299  EDS PAD ABORT REQUEST A OR B                                                                                 

Block 20987:

D           D EE 4300  EDS PAD ABORT REQUEST A OR B provides access to all processed and raw data:

SAT 1179
SAT 1820
SAT 2090
SAT 2909

I have been wanting to reach out to people like David Jones, Scot Manley and Amy Shira who would hopefully have the reach and viewerbase to finally discovery what these tapes were used for. If anybody who worked with these kind of tapes and data sees or hears about their content, they may be able to shed light on these interesting artefacts.

If anybody wants to help figure out this mystery your help would be greatly appreciated! I suspect the tapes were used at the Launch Control computers for something, maybe diagnostics or loading all I/O IDs in the computers?

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