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Keyboard Builders' Digest / Keyboard Spotting

ESA keyboard

A keyboard from the ESA Director of Operations bench spotted by u/evil_noodles.
Published August 16, 2022

Fellow Redditor evil_noodles shared a photo of this keyboard. Not much info on this piece of history other than it was part of the mission launch console of ESA (European Space Agency):

On a visit to the ESA museum in the Netherlands and saw this beauty – evil_noodles.

A slightly wider shot reveals the keyboard belonged to the 'Director of Operations' bench as part of the missions launch console:

That ISO Enter key would drive me crazy but other than that it's a nice keyboard with a keycap profile resembling the Siemens/Tandberg, and the cool color scheme stands out as well.

The shape of the caps begs for hunt-and-pecking and thus may help to prevent accidental keypresses.

With regards to the palette, I read somewhere that NASA tried to avoid using vivid colors and keep the color scheme neutral, muted, pale and comforting – at least in their earlier spaceships I guess – resulting in keyboards in pastel and earth colors in contrast to many colorful keyboards of the time, e.g. this Orion or Reuters from the mid-80s.

I can't remember where did I read or hear that. Maybe in the Grid Compass video?

Anyways, obviously, this wasn't the approach ESA followed with this ground control keyboard.


I reached out to the museum and Olga was kind enough to get back to me with some additional info:

The only information I have is that the launch consoles were used between 1988 and 2003 in Kourou (French Guyana) for launching the Ariane 4 launchers.

Check out the museum here:

Published on Tue 16th Aug 2022. Featured in KBD #91 (source).

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