NASA and Amiga history meet in an eBay listing
If our 11-part series on the history of the Amiga and our (in-progress) seven-part series on the history of the Apollo program don't give it away, we happen to be unabashed fans of a certain computing platform and a certain space program around the Ars Orbital HQ. So this week, a small post at HotHardware inevitably caught our eye: an old NASA-used Amiga evidently ended up for sale on eBay.
Seller vrus currently lists an Amiga 2500 used by NASA's Telemetry Lab for sale. How can anyone be certain this 1980s workhorse came from the US government? Well, the device is emblazoned with NASA property seals that seem to match tags found on other decommissioned NASA hardware. vrus also includes screenshots of programs on the computer that appear to be registered to a Dave Brown (HotHardware notes Brown was a principal programmer at Cape Canaveral's telemetry lab in the 1990s as per a 1999 Q&A with NASA retiree Hal Greenlee and comments from Greenlee in the "Amigas at NASA" video below).
Ars sent a note to NASA asking about general Amiga usage and the decommissioning process for hardware, and we'll update this piece if we receive more details in the coming days.
For now, vrus sent Ars a bit of additional background on the acquisition. The user has been a fan of Commodore and Amiga since 1982, proudly starting with the C64 and fondly remembering time with the Amiga 100 later on. vrus now collects and trades Amiga/Commodore equipment, so the user came across this particular machine by luck when purchasing several boxes of Amiga hardware and software in bulk.
"It had been in storage for several years so it was probably acquired when NASA decommissioned most of their Amigas in 2006," vrus wrote. "Normally I would keep something like this for my own collection because it is so unique and interesting, but I thought it would be better if it ended up somewhere that other people could see it / use it / etc… I am glad I was able to save it; I suspect all the equipment would've ended up in a recycling plant."
The Amiga 2500 was an iteration of the Amiga 2000 that simply came bundled with a Motorola 68020 or 68030-based accelerator card according to the archivists at Old-Computers.com. (The original Amiga 2000 debuted as a high-end machine for Commodore back in 1985, and it's perhaps most fondly remembered for enabling the famed Video Toaster app.) vrus details programming files dating back to 1988 on the advertised Amiga 2500, so that would coincide well with the machine's heyday (Old-Computers.com lists the A2500 as a 1989 product).
Prices for an Amiga 2500 at the time seemed high—the Canadian PC Museum lists it as selling for $3,800+ CAD ($3,000+) in the late 1980s. Considering that, maybe this in-progress eBay auction's surge past $5,000 isn't so absurd (both wear and tear and potentially unique history notwithstanding).
Listing image by eBay seller vrus