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 Post subject: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:36 pm 
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Amazing video here about the design and manufacture of the guidance computer used on the Apollo moon missions. And these guys trusted their lives to this Heath Robinson (Rube Goldberg) machine. Rather them than me.

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2013 1:57 pm 
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And if you like that one, then this video is also very good.

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:13 pm 
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I just got back from a road trip through Texas. We stopped at the Johnson Space center and I got to see the historic Mission Control from all of the Apollo missions. It was unbelievable how efficent they were at making the moon landings possible with what little computing power they had. I will definitely check these out once I get home from work (lots of other stuff to catch up on).

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:06 pm 
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Just watched those two videos. Well worth it. It was a great supplement to the "A Man on the Moon: The Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts" by Andrew Chaiken.

I totally forgot that their ROMS were sewn wires through magnets. I would have thought that punch cards or something similar would be more reliable, but apparently not. Unbelievable how clever those engineers and programers were working with what little resources they had!

One of the really clever things they mentioned in the book was how they were able to achieve pinpoint landings on Apollo 12 and 14-17. The moon's gravity is not perfectly uniform, so the guidance computer was never completely accurate. In fact for Apollo 11, Houston had no clue where they had landed and they were off by about 4 miles or so. Just being off by 1 second is a huge distance.

For Apollo 12, the genius engineers and programers realized they could use data from the telemtry and have mission control crunch some numbers and "move" the target in the guidance computer. So basically the guidance computer would think it's somewhere else, but mission control was adjusting it to match where they really wanted. As a result, Apollo 12 was about 300 meters away from the Surveyor. Too much closer and the dust stirred up from landing may have been too much. So I'd say that was about as perfect as you could get.

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:35 pm 
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That series Moon Machines is brilliant. As an engineer, I would give almost anything to have been on the Apollo team at this time. Whenever I watch a video (or even the film) about Apollo 13, I always tear up when they manage to get them back. Amazing. And whenever I hear someone say that the moon landings were faked, I just watch this video when 79 year old Buzz Aldrin shows he is a BOSS.

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2013 5:53 pm 
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Gus wrote:
And whenever I hear someone say that the moon landings were faked, I just watch this video when 79 year old Buzz Aldrin shows he is a BOSS.

Not the most elegant way to settle a debate, but effective nonetheless. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 4:40 am 
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KelvinS wrote:
Gus wrote:
And whenever I hear someone say that the moon landings were faked, I just watch this video when 79 year old Buzz Aldrin shows he is a BOSS.
Not the most elegant way to settle a debate, but effective nonetheless. :lol:
I think that when someone aggressively calls you a coward and a liar, right in your face, you are within your right to remove his face from your vicinity by use of Newton's Third Law (and your fist) :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:37 am 
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Gus wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
Gus wrote:
And whenever I hear someone say that the moon landings were faked, I just watch this video when 79 year old Buzz Aldrin shows he is a BOSS.
Not the most elegant way to settle a debate, but effective nonetheless. :lol:
I think that when someone aggressively calls you a coward and a liar, right in your face, you are within your right to remove his face from your vicinity by use of Newton's Third Law (and your fist) :shock:

Ah, you're talking about "Geordie diplomacy"! :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 9:34 am 
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KelvinS wrote:
Ah, you're talking about "Geordie diplomacy"! :lol:
What ye tryin tae say like? Aall knack ye for sayin that! Av a gud mind to cum roond an see ye and punch ye se haad that yeel crowp ya kreels :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: How they made the Apollo guidance computer
PostPosted: Thu Sep 12, 2013 10:12 am 
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Gus wrote:
KelvinS wrote:
Ah, you're talking about "Geordie diplomacy"! :lol:
What ye tryin tae say like? Aall knack ye for sayin that! Av a gud mind to cum roond an see ye and punch ye se haad that yeel crowp ya kreels :shock:

Buzz Aldrin wrote:
Oh aye, reet, haway thun. Yur aal taak an' nae bite, yee!

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