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Intel Coppermines won't go in rockets… phew

But x86 technology does soar to the skies

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A source at a US defence firm has written us to re-assure the people of the world that they need not fear that missiles will use the elusive Coppermine microprocessor. That follows reports that we carried about an erratumnotbug found in some batches of the CuMine chip. The reader, who wishes to remain anonymous for entirely understandable reasons, said there is "absolutely zero chance" that Coppermines would get used in the control circuitry of missiles. According to him, any chip used in the critical control path of a missile, space probe or aircraft has to be proved to be worthy and produced in ceramic packaging. The processors may not also use fans. But according to the source, Intel does produce 8086 to 386 chips for the military and has to guarantee 25 years support for these parts. Embedded applications use clocked down surface mounted mobile parts. And here's a really fun and interesting part of this tale. The Space Shuttle has an onboard computer with the power of a 48SX HP calculator, and the astronauts take on board an HP 48SX pre-programmed with the Shuttle's flight plan, in case of navigation failures with the onboard computer. This HP model has a serial port and 64K of memory... ®

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