The precarious state of classic software and hardware preservation

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Tue Nov 23 13:31:36 CST 2021

> On Nov 23, 2021, at 2:22 PM, Jon Elson via cctalk <cctalk at> wrote:
> On 11/23/21 12:21 PM, Chuck Guzis via cctalk wrote:
>> On 11/23/21 9:51 AM, Bill Gunshannon via cctalk wrote:
>>  doubt that a single line of that survives.
>>> You would probably be wrong, it likely was archived before
>>> it stopped being used.  But that won't do you any good as
>>> even if you could submit a FOIA request for it the cost of
>>> recovering it would be prohibitive and they would not have
>>> to honor it.  :-)
>> I don't think so--the project I had in mind was a military project that
>> sunset some time in the late 1970s.
> Yup, A guy I know was in the aerospace fabrication business (now retired).  A few years back, he showed us some horribly degraded mylar plots of some military aircraft drawings that were all the manufacturer could come up with.  The Air Force was doing a major rebuild of those airframes, and needed some skins shaped to replace the tailplane airfoils.  He knew where possibly the only airfoil bender was, and quickly bought it from a scrap dealer. They then had to scrutinize the plots and try to extract the original dimensions so they could bend the skin to the required shape.  Lucky the original manufacturer at least had some form of document still available, or they would have had to do some 3D scanning of an existing part that was not too far gone.

Along those same lines, the designs for the Saturn rocket were supposedly scrapped (some say for political reasons).  A few years ago someone did a detailed 3D scan of the F1 engine (first stage engine) and used that to develop a compatible but more modern successor (called F2 I think).


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