HP-41 in Space - World Spaceflight News


In trying to find info on HP calculators used in space, I found the following web page - World Spaceflight News:


They list a catalog of training manuals that can be purchased, one of which is the following:

"HP-41 / SHUTTLE PORTABLE ONBOARD COMPUTER (SPOC) Setup of hardware and operation; software descriptions; troubleshooting. 44 pgs. $18.00"

Has anyone ever seen this document? I would order it, but the Web Page is old - catalog last updated August 1998. Most of this site is at least 4 years old.

I've sent an email to the contact - but never received any answer. A scan of the web shows that no one else has had success in contacting them.

This is the first reference I've seen to actual NASA calculator instruction manuals.

So - did anyone buy it back in 1998 when it was available?

Time to do more research, but at least now I know that at one time an instruction manual did exist.




In case you haven't seen this link yet:


A while ago there was some discussion on the board about the programs used in the HP41 by Shuttle astronauts. Someone mentioned that the programs were still around (in someones basement or such) but to my knowledge they have never materialized.



Hi Steve,

Thanks for link - I had run across it some time ago but a re-read brought up several interesting points.

Each program was "Mission" specific and was on Modules with spare modules being carried. Of course, this begs the question - User Step Code or Machine code? Used on total of nine missions, so there may be nine different mission specific modules.

I'll be visiting Washington this spring, so I'll have to check the HP-41 that is on exhibit at the Air & Space Museum. Worder if they are storing it with or without batteries and does it contain the actual modules that were used for the Sally Ride mission. Thinking of batteries, did they use standard off-the-shelf batteries or special batteries for the space environment. Too many questions - few answers :)

No let's see .... if I carry a set of batteries.. and no one is looking ... Nah - I'd never get away with it :)

What has happened to the other calculators and modules?

I had to laugh at the following statement:

"Because of their low cost, NASA was able to buy several calculators and provide them to members of the crew for their personal use."

With the millions being spent, NASA could afford to buy hundreds or thousands instead of just "several".

I have a friend that's involved in designing satilites and maybe he has some contacts that could help me track down some additional info.



Hi again Bill,

Here is some more information that I have come across over the years:

1) My understanding is that the programs were written in FOCAL (i.e. usual programming language on the 41) and did the job (i.e. not very elegant).

2) I have been to the Air & Space museum several times, last time was about a year ago, and the 41CV was still on display. It is behind a glass case, so you cannot handle it. Looking at the top of the 41CV you'll find just module place holders, and no actual custom modules (if there were, I would have made some inquires and tried to get a hold of them to recover the programs).
You'll also notice a custom keyboard overlay and a white pouch that was used to store the calc in space. I took some pictures of the display at one time which I posted in this forum some time ago. If you're interested, I can dig them up and re-post them.



I search a little bit on the forum but didn't find them : can you repost them please?


Edited: 16 Feb 2005, 8:30 p.m.



Here's the link to Steve's Photos:


Looks like they used a plastic keyboard overlay and redefined the keys to match. Would love to get a better copy of the overlay.

Thanks Steve for the photos.



Thanks Bill for rediscoving my post.

To the Museum Curator:

I could not find the link pointed out by Bill because it was in the Forum Archives and the search option doesn't appear to search all the archives, only the current one you're in even though I selected dates across the entire archive range. Can this be changed so there is a way to search across all archives?



I'm looking for pictures of the HP67 on board the Apollo capsle of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. Have you seen any?


Hello Bill

If you like, I can send you an image of the HP-65 in space. I sended it long time ago to David but I think he has not put it on the web due to reproducing permissions (I hope you understand my bad english).



me, too!


DROP the DROP_ before DROPping an e-mail to me


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