Control Console, but not PDP-10

Paul Birkel pbirkel at
Fri Apr 12 00:04:42 CDT 2019

The PDP-10 Control Console sold for $3,650.00.  Amazing!

Now consider a DSKY.  Currently at $27,500.00.  Auction estimate: $60,000+

Great provenance!  “The DSKY that saved Apollo 14.”

“Apollo 14 LM Simulator Computer Display and Keyboard (DSKY) from MIT
Instrumentation Laboratory”

Historically significant Apollo Guidance Computer Display and Keyboard
(DSKY) unit from the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, used by Don Eyles and
Sam Drake to verify the software patch needed to avoid an abort during the
Apollo 14 lunar landing sequence. The data entry and display device measures
8″ x 8″ x 6.5″, and has 19 keys and an electroluminescent digital
display. The back of the unit retains its metal NASA parts tag which reads,
“Apollo G & N System, AGC DSKY Assy, Part No. 2003985-041, Serial No. RAY
26, NAS 9-497, Designed by M.I.T. Instrumentation Lab, Mfg. by Raytheon Co.,
" with yellow inspection stamps above. In fine condition.

Accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance from the present owner, who
was employed at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory to design, build, and
maintain the CM and LM cockpit simulators. He retained the DSKY in 1978 when
the LM cockpit simulator was dismantled and discarded.

The DSKY was the astronaut's interface to the Apollo Guidance Computer
developed by MIT, and was critical to every aspect of the mission. Each
program had a two-digit code and commands were entered as two-digit numbers
in a verb-noun sequence. The device permitted the astronauts to collect and
provide flight information necessary for the precise landings on the moon.
It was the DSKY that provided the astronauts with critical burn times for
engine firings, course corrections, trajectories, and other key calculations
vital in getting a crew to and from the moon. The DSKY also reported the
program alarm moments before the LM touched down on the lunar surface to

During Apollo 14, a loose ball of solder floating inside the abort switch of
the LM Antares caused an intermittent short circuit, threatening to
accidentally activate the switch and rocket the module back into orbit
during its landing sequence. In order to prevent that scenario, MIT computer
programmer Don Eyles, a developer of the AGC's source code, was asked to
hack his own software to find a workaround. This represented the most
dramatic moment for MIT's programmers throughout the entire Apollo program,
as they had just three to four hours to work out a fix, test it, and relay
it to the astronauts in time for Powered Descent Initiation (PDI). Eyles
accomplished his task in just two hours, developing a 26-command sequence to
be entered into the DSKY that reprogrammed the AGC to ignore the abort
button. The codes were relayed to Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell with ten
minutes to spare, and the LM Antares successfully touched down on the lunar
surface at 09:18:11 UTC on February 5, 1971. As the MIT DSKY used to verify
the code that saved the Apollo 14 mission, this is an exceptionally
important piece of space history.


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