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Sep 24, 2011

Flight Simulator or ICBM?

You try to figure out what is the math inside a flight simulator and you end up with an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

The paper dates back to years 1959-1961 to the era when USA and Soviet Union were competing who is first to the space (and ICBM's). It is maybe partially influenced by the Mercury-Atlas rocket's autonomous guidance system which was used in 1962-63. The Atlas E and F had completely autonomous inertial guidance systems. Here is a link to the paper.

Missiles had the first embedded computer systems. So we have to thank those early systems for the fact that we have now small microcomputers in every day use. The Minuteman-I Autonetics D-17 flight computer was used during 1960's. Autonetics was the associate contractor for the Minuteman (MM) guidance system, which included the flight and prelaunch software.

This software was programmed in assembly language into a D17 disk computer. TRW provided the guidance equations that Autonetics programmed and was also responsible for the verification of the flight software. When MM I became operational, the flight computer was the only digital computer in the system. The targeting was done at Strategic Air Command (SAC) Headquarters by the Operational Targeting Program developed by TRW to execute on an IBM 709 mainframe computer

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