This is a rare rope memory module made for the Block I (before the Apollo 1 fire) Model 100 Apollo Guidance and Navigation Computer. The computers that formed the basis of the Apollo Guidance and Navigation System (AGNS) were at the cutting edge of technology in the 1960s. They were the first to use the integrated circuit technology that subsequently gave us desktop computers and so many of the consumer electronic products that fill our lives today.
Each computer had two types of memory, erasable and fixed. The fixed memory contained the programs, constants and landmark coordinates using 36,864 terms or words, each of 15 bits length. That came to a grand total of 74 kilobytes of memory.
The fixed memory was made from coincident-current ferrite cores woven into a rope with copper wires and sealed in plastic. Software components were encoded into a core according to the "pattern" of its weave. Each core functioned as a small transformer, with up to 64 wires connected to each core. If a wire passed through a particular core, a "1" would be read. If a particular wire bypassed the core, a "0" would be read. If you wanted to change the software contained in fixed memory, you had to rewire the sealed core to change the bits. The erasable memory was made from similar materials but with a different design. Each core in the erasable memory could be changed using magnets. Turning clockwise to indicate a "1" or anti-clockwise indicating a "0".
The module is labeled: C P ASSY 1031103 NO. 1003733-011, MFG BY RAYTHEON CO., SERIAL NO. RAY 4
Thanks to Jim Loocke for the technical description of this artifact.