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Oct 24, 2017

Apollo Mission Films (Part 14, Apollo Control Systems)

NASA made several films during the Apollo program about the physics, calculations and programming principles used to do the manned Moon trip. Compared to today's standards many of those are very detailed and give very good information about how the programs behind the successful missions were tailored. Most of films originated from MSC (Manned Spacecraft Center) Houston, Texas. This is a list of links I have found in YouTube (there might be more in various archives).

Jul 25, 2017

1950's Computer Language "George"

[The Laning and Zierler system (sometimes called "George" by its users) was one of the first operating algebraic systems, that is, a system capable of accepting mathematical formulae in algebraic notation and executing equivalent machine code.

The system accepted formulas in a more or less algebraic notation. It respected the standard rules for operator precedence, allowed nested parentheses, and used superscripts to indicate exponents.

It was among the first programming systems to allow symbolic variable names and allocate storage automatically. The system also automated the following tasks: floating point computation, linkage to subroutines for the basic functions of analysis (sine, etc.) and printing, and arrays and indexing. It could also solve automatically ordinary differential equations using Gills' variation of the 4th order Runge-Kutta Method, that was an inbuilt language feature.


Dr. J. Halcombe Laning

It was implemented in 1952-53 and published in 1954 for the MIT WHIRLWIND computer by J. Halcombe Laning and Neal Zierler. It was made during a time with similar UNIVAC A-2, IBM Speedcoding and a number of other systems that were proposed but never implemented.

The following text is a reprint of a MIT's summer session report 1954.]

Feb 12, 2017

LM Descent to the Moon - Part 7 - Crew Comments (1969)

(Apollo 11 LM - DOI to Touchdown Crew Debriefing, 1969)

[The following is a partial reprint of NASA's Apollo 11 crew interviews /1/ during their quarantine that took three weeks after their splash down. Apollo 11 CM splashed down on July 24, 1969.]

Figure 1. ARMSTRONG, COLLINS and ALDRIN.
The Apollo 11 mission, launched on July 16, 1969 and returned to Earth on July 24, 1969. Aboard the space craft were astronauts Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, Command Module (CM) pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., Lunar Module (LM) pilot