Add his or her name to the Museum’s Wall of Honor. Three minutes before the lunar lander reached the Moon's surface, several computer alarms were triggered. Processes for software validation and verification were developed, making extensive use of hardware and software simulators. Case History of the Apollo Guidance Computer. The Apollo contract was not the sole reason for the transformation of the Valley, but it was a major factor. In short, MIT chose to follow Puddin’head Wilson and make the computer work right the first time. Chips were tested under rigorous conditions of temperature, vibration, contamination, and so on. "During 1963, the MIT Instrumentation Lab consumed 60 percent of the integrated circuit production in the United States. Logic Chips. In regard to the previous question, is there a back-up guidance function of sufficient breadth and proven development that can allow the APOLLO/LEM mission to attain success … in the event of catastrophic failure of the MIT guidance? 23 Comments ... trust the success of the Apollo program on the newly developed integrated circuit was an important milestone in computer history. Photo: Mark Richards/Computer History Museum A prototype of the rope memory used in the Apollo Guidance Computer. But in the early 1960s, when this decision was made, the chip was untested, and its reliability was a large unknown. The area of Santa Clara County, where Fairchild and its competitors were located, began going by the name “Silicon Valley” by the end of the decade. Credit: Courtesy MIT Museum Margaret Hamilton’s Apollo Code A brief history of the famous 1969 photo of the software that sent humans to the Moon. It was designed by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory (now The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.) and manufactured by Raytheon Corporation. And this brings us to one of the ironies of the Apollo decision to use integrated circuits. There are numerous other examples of similar trade-offs that illustrate the need for safety against the need to venture so far away from Earth orbit, and to meet President Kennedy’s deadline of putting a man on the Moon by 1969. MIT did not entirely prevail, however, as NASA specified that primary navigation for Apollo would be conducted from Houston, using its array of large mainframe computers (supplied by IBM), with the on-board system as a secondary. Computer scientist Margaret Hamilton poses with the Apollo guidance software she and her team developed at MIT. Visit us in Washington, DC and Chantilly, VA to explore hundreds of the world’s most significant objects in aviation and space history. The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) project was radically ambitious. Sorry, there was a problem. Block II measured 24 by 12.5 by 6 inches, weighed 70.1 pounds, and required 70 watts at 28 volts DC. Grumman envisioned this “Abort Guidance System” (AGS) as a modest controller intended only to get the crew off the Moon quickly and into Lunar Orbit, where they would be rescued by the Command Module pilot. There was no practical backup if the engine failed. Thank you. and taking up a volume of less than 1 cubic foot. The Apollo Guidance Computer was fairly compact for a computer of its time. MARGARET HAMILTON: When I first got involved in Apollo, I was coming off the SAGE project for the Lincoln Labs. As finally supplied by TRW Inc., it grew into a general-purpose computer of its own, with its own display and keyboard. The Apollo Guidance Computer used advanced switching power supplies that were lightweight and efficient. For additional information, see reference 3. Their design was licensed to Philco of suburban Philadelphia, which supplied the thousands of integrated circuits used in all the Apollo Guidance Computers. Designed by the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory and built by Raytheon, the Apollo Guiding Computer was the most advanced computer of its time. The documents below, courtesy of Eldon C. Hall, are schematics for the Block II Apollo Guidance Computer.. The wisdom of that decision was proven during Apollo 13 when the Command Module’s power was lost. The Apollo Guidance Computer laid bare It’s common to find that the AGC is often described as a mere calculator, or compared to a controller chip … Infoage Science/History Learning Center The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation. evolution of the Apollo Guidance Computer, Mr. Hall contends that the development of the Apollo computer supported and motivated the semiconductor industry during a time when integrated circuits were just emerging. Years later he realized it included a computer from an Apollo lunar module, like the one used to guide the lander to the surface of the moon during Apollo 11. One of the most interesting examples of these decisions concerned the Apollo Guidance and Navigation system, controlled by the Apollo Guidance Computer. An AGC output meter is located on the LCRU. The Apollo Guidance Computer provided spacecraft guidance, navigation, and control during all of NASA’s Apollo Moon missions. As a public health precaution, the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center and the Museum in DC are temporarily closed. First conference. Recognize your favorite air or space enthusiast. According to hardware design team lead Eldon Hall in a 1982 lecture at the Boston Computer Museum: Bellcomm’s recommendation was due in part to IBM’s role as supplier of the computer that guided the Saturn V rocket into Earth orbit and then to a lunar trajectory. 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