Behind the scenes of the Apollo mission at MIT

The computer system and software that controlled the Apollo 11 spacecraft - call

The computer system and software that controlled the Apollo 11 spacecraft - called the Apollo Guidance Computer and designed by the MIT Instrumentation Lab team - helped push technology forward in many ways. The computer itself was the first significant use of silicon integrated circuit chips. Image courtesy of the MIT Museum

Writing for Astronomy, Korey Haynes features Saydean Zeldin’s work at the MIT Instrumentation Lab designing software that allowed the Apollo astronauts to control the spacecraft engines. Haynes notes that Zeldin has had "a major hand in the way technology works today."

Wall Street Journal reporter Robert Lee Hotz explores the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer at the MIT Instrumentation Lab. Holtz writes that the computer’s "legacy is in just about every pocket, driveway, home and office. Its descendants helped to remake how the world learns, works, plays, communicates, spends and socializes."

Writing for Astronomy, Korey Haynes spotlights Elaine Denniston, who was hired as a keypuncher at the MIT Instrumentation Lab, but went above and beyond, reviewing the Apollo code for errors. Denniston, who went on to become a lawyer, says that she "didn’t realize then that what I did was anything special. I typed, I found errors, I nagged people."

CBS News reporter William Harwood spotlights the Apollo 11 astronauts who made history by successfully completing the first landing on the moon, including Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, who "earned a Ph.D. in orbital mechanics from MIT and helped perfect the rendezvous techniques needed by Apollo crews."


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