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CDC 3800 Launch Computer Processor


Display Status:

This object is on display in the James S. McDonnell Space Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

CDC 3800 Launch Computer Processor

Collection Item Summary:

This is the processor unit of the CDC 3800, a computer that was used at the Consolidated Space Test Center in Sunnyvale, California, to operate Air Force satellites from the 1960s through the early 1990s.

The CDC 3800 was a large mainframe computer optimized for handling problems that required a lot of numeric processing. Control Data Corporation of Minneapolis-St. Paul introduced the 3800 in the early 1960s. The 48-bit computer used discrete transistors for logic, had a memory of 128 kilobytes, and had a 48-bit word length. A full system cost about $1.9 million.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Control Data Corporation

Credit Line

Transferred from the U.S. Air Force


  • Backplane: many short, thin insulated wires
  • Circuit cards: epoxy boards with metal connectors
  • Components: transistors, resistors with approximately 4 transistors per card
  • Doors: hinged Plexiglas and aluminum
  • Frame: steel chassis


3-D: 208.3 x 61 x 190.5cm (82 x 24 x 75 in.)

See more items in

National Air and Space Museum Collection

Country of Origin

United States of America


INSTRUMENTS-Computers, General Purpose

Inventory Number


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