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Minuteman I Guidance Computer - Artifact

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Minuteman rocket on the launch pad, c. 1960
Credit: USAF

Minuteman I Guidance Computer

This section of a Minuteman I missile guidance computer is a 24-bit serial minicomputer that controlled an on-board inertial guidance system. Previous missiles were guided by ground-based computers that communicated using a radio link, but since atomic explosions in the atmosphere could disrupt radio communications there was a need to develop a computer small enough to be housed in the rocket itself. The computer also performed diagnostic checks on the rocket system as it waited in the launch silo.

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