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The Kettering Group


Tyneside, UK
2017 Apr 30
Sunday, Day 120

Maintained by:








Kettering Group Equipment in Detail:












Elsewhere on the Web:

Contemporary 1966 film of the tracking equipment

Calculators and Computers

This is an area that advanced with developments in the rest of the world. Initially, calculations relied on a combination of tables of logarithms, slide rules and hand drawn graphs. With time it evolved through mechanical and electronic calculators to micro and then personal computers.

Item Purpose Note Currently Residing
Globe with Orbit Analogue computer Small Earth globe on stand with added circular orbit - adjustable for inclination

Originally the property of Isabel Perry
Geoff Perry Collection
Elliott 803 mainframe Orbital computations from observations Located CWS Corset Factory, Desborough, Northamptonshire

Used by Geoff Perry with programming assistance from Ron Smith
Dismantled when became obsolete
Calculator - Mechanical Calculations and predictions from observations David Muggleton identifies it as a Lagomarsino-Numeria of Italian manufacture. It looks like a Lagomarsino-Numeria model 5905.

It has a moveable carriage with hand-cranked internal rotors - Geoff was about the only person who could use it to calculate square roots!

Can be seen in the (Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph) photograph on the Wonderstuff album cover - on the bench in front of Graham Coleman.
Unknown, formerly School property
Elliott 4120 mainframe Orbital computation from observations Located at the Shoe and Allied Trades Research Association (SATRA) at Kettering

Used by Geoff Perry assisted by Ron Smith
Dismantled when became obsolete
ICL 1900 mainframe Orbital computations from observations Located at County Offices, Northampton

Used by Geoff Perry from terminal at Kettering Technical College, St Mary's Road
Dismantled when became obsolete
Orrery - Earth Orbit Display of sub-satellite point Driven by electric motor - capable of operation in real time

Built by retired engineer Frank Lewin of Kettering
Geoff Perry Collection
Orrery - Solar System Demonstrate Venus and Mars launch windows Shows planetary motion to scale, Earth and either Mars or Venus lights up when a launch window is open

Operated by hand

Built by retired engineer Frank Lewin of Kettering
Geoff Perry Collection
Calculator - Electronic Satellite calculations 30 step programmable - effectively a pre-computer, very expensive to buy at the time

Presented to Geoff Perry by Walter Annenburg, US Ambassador to the UK
Geoff Perry Collection
Commodore 4032 Orbit and general satellite computing First micro-computer used by the Tracking Group, programmed in BASIC by Geoff Geoff Perry Collection
Other Computing Equipment Orbital analysis, predictions, observation analysis Further micro-computers were introduced as they became available with Geoff Perry favouring Commodore as a brand/type

There is no definitive list of what individual items were used or how their use evolved though Geoff is known to have written a number of analysis programs in BASIC
Geoff Perry Collection
Copyright © Robert Christy, all rights reserved
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited