Computers for Apollo Moon Landing     


Computers for Apollo Moon Landing - overview

Other Accomplishment | 1965

IBM researcher: TBD

Where the work was done: TBD

What we accomplished: IBM provided key guidance computers aboard the Apollo missions, as well as computers used on the ground to manage the Apollo flights to the moon from 1968 (Apollo 10) to 1972 (Apollo 17), and including Apollo 11's first landing on the moon on July 20, 1969.

Adapted from IBM Writeup: IBM provided the 650-pound guidance computer for the Mercury and Gemini programs preceding Apollo in the US space program. These computers processed 7000 instructions per second and used innovative three-dimensional, multilayer etched circuit boards to interconnect components, saving miles of wire and pounds of weight. These computers were improved and extended for the Saturn rockets used in the Apollo moon program. IBM also provided five 360 Model 75 computers for use in NASA’s Real Time Computer Complex at Mission Control in Houston.  These 360 computers were used to compute the mission’s velocity, flight path angle, and time and position of impact upon return. Returning from the first moon landing, Apollo 11 had to re-enter the earth's atmosphere within an attitude in a 6-degree window. IBM's computers recalculated trajectory 400 times to ensure this window was hit.

Related links: Arstechnia writeup; IBM Writeup



Image credit: TBD