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Author Topic: The Apollo onboard computer  (Read 6860 times)

40hz

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The Apollo onboard computer
« on: July 21, 2009, 05:26:56 AM »
It's often been said: It ain't what ya got. It's how you use it that counts. I don't think there's ever been a better example of that than the onboard guidance computer used on the Apollo moon missions.

Think your aging Pentium laptop is too slow to get any real work done? Read on:

http://www.downloads...-apollo-11-computer/

Quote
How powerful was the Apollo 11 computer?

by Grant Robertson Jul 20th 2009 at 8:30PM

With all the buzz about the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing I got to thinking, how powerful were the computers that "took us to the Moon?" It turns out, they were nothing short of amazing. If you've never had a nerdy bone in your body, feel free to skip this post. But, if you ever laid on your back under the stars and thought about Mercury, Gemini, Apollo or the Space Shuttle, read on and see if you're as geek-struck as I was researching this.

And if you're an ubergeek, you can download a working simulator of the Apollo Guidance Computer to get a feel for what it was like to use a bleeding edge real-time computer - back in 1969.

Quote
Virtual AGC and AGS

The purpose of this project is to provide a computer simulation of the onboard guidance computers used in the Apollo Program's lunar missions, and to generally allow you to learn about these guidance computers.

Link: http://www.ibiblio.o...html#What_Is_An_AGC_

LMV35E.gif

 8)

Innuendo

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 10:48:21 AM »
Very interesting stuff, but you forgot the most important link.

Build an AGC in your basement:

http://klabs.org/history/build_agc/

40hz

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2009, 01:27:28 PM »
Build an AGC in your basement:

I'm not THAT interested in authenticity. ;D

When it comes to chips, wirewrapping, and boards - been there/done that.

And believe me - the thrill is long gone. :P


mouser

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2009, 02:11:46 PM »
Quote
Build an AGC in your basement

that is so cool.

ps. for those of you who are tempted to try making one, be warned, this is a 3ft x 5ft entity:
agc2.jpgThe Apollo onboard computer
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 02:15:25 PM by mouser »

MilesAhead

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2009, 03:03:40 PM »
Hmmmm, blows my mind the Moon Landing Stuff(tm) is 40 years old!  Just shows ta' go ya' once they've seen the rabbit disappear, it's boring the 2nd time around.  I'd have thought we'd be partying on Clavius by now!  Guess there needs to be a black flat stone emitting a radio signal before we'll go back. :)

zridling

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2009, 03:57:11 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'

mouser

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2009, 03:59:23 PM »
Quote
unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something.


i see zaine is already making his plans for how to best use the red planet.  ;D

f0dder

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2009, 04:28:02 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'
We have to go there, in order to stop the evil alien mindbenders!
- carpe noctem

MilesAhead

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2009, 04:50:37 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'

Isn't Copenhagen a lot closer? :)

f0dder

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2009, 05:34:23 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'
Isn't Copenhagen a lot closer? :)
They don't grow weed in christiania, they just sell it... and shoot eachother :)
- carpe noctem

MilesAhead

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2009, 06:26:01 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'
Isn't Copenhagen a lot closer? :)
They don't grow weed in christiania, they just sell it... and shoot eachother :)

Evidently they're lousy shots then.

Edvard

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2009, 06:30:10 PM »
Like some have noted this week, I don't think we should go to Mars unless we can do something there, e.g., establish a colony, grow marijuana legally, build a Wal-Mart, or something. Otherwise, it's a one-shot moment and poof, we're back to 'been there, done that.'
Isn't Copenhagen a lot closer? :)
They don't grow weed in christiania, they just sell it... and shoot eachother :)
Evidently they're lousy shots then.
How good can you aim when you're stoned?

I say we figure out how to get to Mars without sapping our economy EVEN MORE and then send up the "face on mars" people to investigate for themselves.

I didn't say we had to figure out how to get them back.
« Last Edit: July 21, 2009, 06:35:24 PM by Edvard »

Innuendo

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2009, 06:44:21 PM »
Grow marijuana? On Mars?

Guess now I know why they call it the Red Planet.

mwb1100

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2009, 06:50:39 PM »
ps. for those of you who are tempted to try making one, be warned, this is a 3ft x 5ft entity:

Yeah, when I went to the site and saw that picture, my thinking went from "that's cool" to "that's f&^*!ing crazy! (but still cool)".

I have a hard enough time plugging stuff into my 120V mains using standard 2 or 3 prong plugs.  I'd go mad trying to get all those little wires hooked up right...

MilesAhead

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2009, 02:52:48 PM »
Grow marijuana? On Mars?

Guess now I know why they call it the Red Planet.

People will be copping Panamars Red.  The guy down in Mexico growing the weed will put a bit of red sand in the baggy to convince everyone it's the genuine article. :)

40hz

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #15 on: July 22, 2009, 03:07:06 PM »
Here's NASA's little "puter" in situ aboard the LEM! :Thmbsup:

(Can you say: analogue control surfaces? That cockpit looks more like a modular Moog synthesizer than a spacecraft.)

lunarmoduleControlPanel1_cc.jpg

Also check out the schematic and article on the Apollo touchdown indicator over at Make Online:

http://blog.makezine...CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890

 8)

« Last Edit: July 22, 2009, 03:10:45 PM by 40hz »

f0dder

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2009, 05:37:40 PM »
That cockpit looks more like a modular Moog synthesizer than a spacecraft.)
:-* :-* :-*
- carpe noctem

40hz

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #17 on: July 22, 2009, 06:30:50 PM »
That cockpit looks more like a modular Moog synthesizer than a spacecraft.)
:-* :-* :-*

@f0dder: Just out of curiosity...are we feeling the love for all those knobs and switches, the Moog Mark IV modular, or both?

(BTW: I'm a big fan of both. I love having tons on knobs and switches to play with. :-*)


f0dder

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2009, 06:43:57 PM »
<offtopic>
40hz: unfortunately I've never had a chance to play with an analog synth, but I still like them a lot anyway :) - and I love knobs and sliders and switches. I'm not any good at putting music together, but I still find it funny to dabble around with Reason 4, or watch the other brother mess around with it.

Which reminds me, if you know of a USB-connected midi controller with plenty knobs and sliders that isn't too expensive, give a shout - the_other_brother has a USB keyboard, but it only has pitch + modulation, and he needs programmable knobs far more than a lot of keys (the current keyboard is like a metre or 1.5 wide, which is too much really :))</offtopic>
- carpe noctem

yksyks

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #19 on: July 23, 2009, 01:05:36 PM »
Off-topic, but in reply to the previous posts:

This reminds me good old times I had when I was working at the Research Institute of Radio and Television and I was one of two developers of the the first analog synthesizer in Czech Republic. It was called Antares and you can see it here, but not in the Russian section (sigh!), scroll to the bottom of the page.

Alas, just a few samples were made, the whole thing never made it to serial production, due to the communist government... It sounded really good, like all analog synthesizers.

Sorry for the off-topic, I couldn't resist to my nostalgic memories.

40hz

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Re: The Apollo onboard computer
« Reply #20 on: July 23, 2009, 02:39:13 PM »
<---off topic---> Sorry!

@fodder & yksyks - anybody want to start a new thread - or possibly ask Mouse-Man to move our synth-talk over to a new one? I'd love to chat about those old "switchboards." Especially with one of the early developers!!! :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: July 23, 2009, 02:42:27 PM by 40hz »