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NASA Spacelink runs on a Data General ECLIPSE MV-7800 minicomputer located at the George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA Spacelink software was developed and donated to NASA by the Data General Corporation of Westboro, Massachusetts. The system has a main memory of 14 megabytes (14 million characters), disk storage space for 708 megabytes, and can communicate with eight callers simultaneously at 300, 1200, or 2400 baud. NASA Spacelink is a dynamic system that will change and expand daily. It was made available to the public in February, 1988.

Initial funding for NASA Spacelink was provided by the Educational Affairs Division at NASA Headquarters.The NASA Spacelink data base is maintained by the Public Services and Education Branch of the Marshall Space Flight Center Public Affairs Office. Operational support is provided by the Information Systems Office at the Marshall Center. Information on NASA scientific projects and educational programs is provided to NASA Spacelink by education specialists at NASA Headquarters and the NASA field centers.

While NASA understands that people from a wide variety of backgrounds will use NASA Spacelink, the system is specifically designed for teachers. The More [Y,n]? data base is arranged to provide easy access to current and historical information on NASA aeronautics and space research. Also included are suggested classroom activities that incorporate information on NASA projects to teach a number of scientific principles. Unlike bulletin board systems, NASA Spacelink does not provide for interaction between callers. However it does allow teachers and other callers to leave questions and comments for NASA which may be answered by regular mail.


The communications parameters for accessing NASA Spacelink are: 300, 1200, or 2400 baud 8 data bits 1 stop bit No parity bits

The telephone number for NASA Spacelink is 205-895-0028.

To use NASA Spacelink, type the number of the menu item most likely to contain information of interest, and hit your computer's return, carriage return (CR), new line, or enter key. You will find one or more sub-menus under each item in the main menu. Continue choosing menu items until the More [Y,n]? desired information appears.

For example, if you are a sixth grade teacher and you want to plan a lesson around food for astronauts, choose item 9 from the Main Menu (Materials for Classroom Use). From the next menu choose item 2 (Living in Space Activities, Grades 1-6). From the next menu choose item 2 (Food Lesson Plans). Your final menu choice will be item 9 (Grade 6), which will provide suggested activities for sixth grade students.

Every Spacelink menu offers the options of returning to the previous menu (item 0) or returning to the Main Menu (item 1).

When you first logged on to NASA Spacelink, you indicated the number of lines your computer monitor will display at one time. NASA Spacelink will pause accordingly to allow time to read information that has appeared on screen. You may press RETURN whenever you are ready for NASA Spacelink to continue.

If you wish to override the pause feature to allow continuous scrolling, type the letter "C" (for Continuous) when text begins to appear. You must type the letter "C" every time you want text to scroll continuously. This feature will be helpful when you are not reading text, but are saving it to disk. More [Y,n]?

If you wish to stop viewing text while it is scrolling, you may type the letter "S" (for STOP) and the previous menu will reappear.

If you want text to pause on demand, type the letter "S" while depressing your computer's "Control" key. To resume scrolling, type the letter "Q" while depressing your computer's "Control" key.

If you want to erase a typing mistake, depress your computer's "Control" key and type the letter "H" as many times as necessary to remove the error. (The "DELETE" key or the left arrow key on many computers will generate Ctrl/H.) Please note that your mistake will not disappear from the screen. Instead, an underscore character (_) will appear for each character you delete. Example: If you type "Appple," you should enter Ctrl/H three times to erase the last three letters of the word and then you should type "le" again. The corrected word will appear as "Appple___le" on your screen, but it will appear as "Apple" in NASA Spacelink's memory.

In brief, here are the keys you can use to control operation of NASA Spacelink:

———————————————————- Key Effect More [Y,n]? q

Use `Y' for YES or `N' for NO. More [Y,n]? xDOYOYOY y

RETURN Causes text that has paused to resume scrolling

C Causes text to scroll continuously to end

S Causes text to stop scrolling and returns

user to previous menu

Ctrl/S Causes text to pause

Ctrl/Q Causes text to resume scrolling after being

stopped by Ctrl/S

Ctrl/H Deletes typing mistakes (Your computer's Delete

key or left arrow key may generate Ctrl/H.)


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