Light Years Ahead | The 1969 Apollo Guidance Computer

เผยแพร่เมื่อ 4 ก.พ. 2020
Half a century ago, on 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong was in the final stages of the lunar descent, just a few thousand feet above the surface, when suddenly his on-board computer indicated a critical alarm. For three nail-biting seconds it looked as if the mission would have to be aborted. However, Armstrong was given a "go" to continue, and after several more alarms the Eagle touched down safely on the Moon.
Robert Wills introduces the amazing hardware and software that made up the Apollo Guidance Computer, walks you through the landing procedure step-by-step, and talks about the pioneering design principles that were used to make the landing software robust against any failure. He also explains the problems that occurred during the Apollo 11 landing, and shows you how the Apollo Guidance Computer played its part in saving the mission.
Recorded: 26th October, 2019.

ความคิดเห็น

  • Thank you! I have always wondered what was up at that moment.

  • 10/10!

  • It's nice to know that people like Robert Willis exists. His passion and sense of humor are wonderful.

  • NASA - hebrew for "to deceive". If the van alen belts hadnt destroyed them, then the tempature at full sunlight would of fried them to 127 degress celcius, yet the chest camera that was used for filming wasn't friend in such tempatures, and neither were the astronaughts. The moon Lunar lander had the same space as two phone boxes side by side, yet they fitted in it the moon buggy and two astronaughts. The science is laughable beyond belief.

  • That little computer was a magnificent accomplishment. To think that just one

  • I hand coded Fanuc® when we had to ensure our total program was kept very small to compensate for lack of memory. Now, in the days of high level cad/cam and finite analysis systems, like MasterCam® and Solidworks® most programs we hand coded back when are available as simple canned routines. The interface takes one code with three or four variables instead of a pages-long stream of individual commands. I get how much onboard brainwork the software engineer had to have in mind and how easy it would be to neglect a checklist item for intercept radar to off, and all I was trying to avoid crashing was a tool head into a workpiece or fixture. Credit to MIT/NASA that they only had one glitch landing on the moon with less memory than my microwave oven.

  • I would much rather know how they shielded the astronauts from the Van Allen radiation, how they managed to misplace the necessary technological breakthroughs for the landings so thoroughly that they cannot be recovered still after 50 years, how the Russians, who were leading the Americans all the way through the space race, were never able to replicate the feat even 50 years later, and why there has supposedly been no fundamental breakthrough in propulsion technology for about 80 years. If you can answer these questions satisfactorily, then I might believe your Apollo story.

    • By having a thick enough hull, spending as little time as possible in the area and avoiding the hottest zones. What technological breakthrough was misplaced? The Russians never did it because their moon rocket didn't work. Fundamental breakthroughs are not always possible in every single field, my guy. Things don't keep improving forever at an ever increasing rate. Reality has limits.

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  • What would have happened if Neil Armstrong didn’t enter the last command? Wouldn’t the computer have rebooted repeatedly on the descent?

  • Brilliant, just brilliant!

  • That 81 minutes felt like 20.

  • Thank you for a superb explanation, and thank you for making me aware of Margret. Clearly her contribution to world history is significant, but few people (like me) are aware of her existence. I was a young grade schooler living near the Cape during the Apollo era, and I saw the launches and I was fascinated by the whole thing. These days it is a pleasure for me to learn the actual details of the things that I saw back then.

  • Who is the they at MIT?

  • What an excelent conference!

  • Unfortunately NASA deleted all the original tapes and blueprints. To quote the late and great William Shatner: "Science and SciFi. There is no difference. It is the same"

    • That is not true.

  • Fantastic

  • 💖

  • Your thumbnail's math is about ten years off.

  • this kid sounds like an 83 year old British lady. lol

  • America really hit its peak between the 50s-80s

  • AGC used small magnetic rings to store 4k of data. Built by professional seamstresses. Failure proof. AGC could error code all day and that memory would still store the data.

  • "jobs" was an ubiquitous term for programs....the task manager had to queue up your program cards in the hopper to be run sequentially on the computer...at least that what i remember back in the 70's on our campus system...

  • Without air on the moon combustion would be impossible, everybody knows that. So how could they have gone to the moon and successfully return? Or rather, knowing that it would be impossible to return to earth due to the lack of air, how would anyone in his right mind take off to the moon? Houston, we might have a problem.

    • You know, you could have actually looked for an answer to your question instead of assuming there is no answer and making a fool of yourself in the process. Rockets carry their own oxidizer, they don't rely on oxygen from the air.

  • Cisco ISR routers have the guidance computer program added as an Easter Egg thanks to this guy.

  • Excellent! So fun to watch and I learned lot of new things :)

  • Wow.

  • I simply have no words for how amazing this engineering is,

  • This is an excellent talk. I am simply amazed at what used to be able to be accomplished in 8 or 64k of memory, with startup time not noticeable on human time scales. Now, simply turning on the computer can take several minutes and a few gigabytes. When you go from a few thousand lines of code to several hundred million lines of code being the typical payload, it's going to get progressively more difficult to squash out all the bugs.

  • Why is it these sort of folks dress so terribly?

    • @PJ Vis I’ve changed my mind. Everyone has an extra 10 min a day to make themselves more presentable. At first glance, your original statement seemed true to me. They just have zero interest in looks. Either way, I don’t care how they look. It was just an observation. Not a judgement. They just don’t care how they look. I can relate.

    • @Brent Weeks That's very true. We pay them exorbitant amounts of money because they understand computers in a way we never will.

    • @PJ Vis Nerds ...........(who prob make 3-4 times more than I do. I wish I was a nerd)

    • Because they spend most of their day sitting behind computers and rarely have to do presentations. If guys like this cared much for fashion, the world wouldn't have gotten as far as it has in terms of automation

  • I wish my 2019 Samsung refrigerator worked flawlessly and could be as highly reliable :(

  • Thanks alot mr Cough Cough guy Next time please leave the damn room. Think of the other people!!!!

  • I really appreciate the way he speaks. When asked a question he pauses and thinks about the answer, not as easy as it might seem.

  • This was excellent!

  • Information crossing. George T. Schmidt, MIT director, recently took a webinar about full spatial US history, as one of the main person who toke a part on the history. The software man of the team that wrote and performed the Luminary program has been Don Eyles, mentioned by Schmidt. Margaret Hamilton came as software director AFTER Apollo 11 and didn't any impact on Apollo 11 adventure. In the book of Don Eyles (who also saved the Apollo14 mission and received a public acknowledgment from president Nixon) writes that Margaret Hamilton was certainly a beautiful woman, but had no relation with Apollo 11.

    • According to MIT articles on the subject, Hamilton became director of the Software Engineering Division that was responsible for the Apollo Guidance Computer software in 1965. Of course many other people worked on the system. Some of them are probably jealous of the recognition Hamilton received.

  • Great talk, thanks.

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  • a lightyear is a unit of distance, not time disliked (jk obviously)

    • @Richie Conway 'light-year' can also be used to refer to "an extremely large measure of comparison (as of distance, time, or quality)"

    • @Richie Conway - I think it means a long distance in front.

    • @GH1618 Yes it does. It says "Light Years Ahead". If I'm not mistaken, that's shorthand for light years ahead of it's time.

    • The title doesn’t say it’s time.

  • The whole thing is fantastic. But I just LOVE the Buzz Aldrin's 16 68 thing and the way you are telling it :)

  • First, brilliant presentation! Second, about Aldrin and the rendezvous radar: In 2019, the spate of Apollo documentaries included one with an Aldrin interview about the 1201/1202 issues. In that interview, he admitted that the standard mode was to switch off the rendezvous radar before starting powered descent. But for the landing he claimed he wanted to be "ready for an abort", so he intentionally skipped that step. He made the admission/confession with classic Aldrin braggadocio and very little sincere reticence. Basically his posture was, "I wanted it. So I did it. And I got away with it." Remember that Aldrin was nicknamed Mr. Rendezvous for his extensive and invaluable work on orbit rendezvous techniques. In my mind, he wished he would be the first pilot to land on the Moon. But if he couldn't have that, he wanted to be the hero who saved the landing party after an abort. So he situated himself and his "indulgence" for success after an abort. He wasn't cheering for an abort. But if it happened he was ready to reap some credit for his enhancement of SOP. I don't think for a second he expected his little stunt would have caused the ruckus it did. And Apollo was mostly a national pride production, so pointing a finger at one of the two heroes who landed wasn't productive.

  • if the moon surface is not perfectly flat, this all fails

  • Anyone who will accept and believe statements in this lecture have been overdosed by illegal narcotics.

  • Pfft.. that's plenty of memory. That's not even 2KB, that's almost 4KB of RAM. I've written code for controllers with less memory than that. Clock speed is pretty slow, but plenty enough to steer a spaceship. Why they didn't add an extra bit to the processor word is weird tho. Would have been much better to add one more bit to keep it a power of 2. I haven't done any research on the reason for this, but perhaps this was simply because of how they initially aligned memory modules.

    • There is no need for word length to be a power of two. It is a convention used in more modern computers because most computers nowadays do a lot of processing of text and the industry has standardized on 8-bit characters. Byte addressing is also a feature of many computers. Those are no consideration for a computer which does only numeric processing. Their word was as long as it needed to be and no longer.

  • Well done! Great presentation.

  • All right but why is full thrust 94% ?

  • Moral of the story...know your stuff before you do a presentation and have some love of your subject. Great presentation from a great presenter, totally nerdy but in a magnificent way. Pity The Big Bang Theory is now no more as he would have made an excellent character.

  • What a great presenter, wow. So engaging

  • Lmao YT put a fact check on this video. Thank you, corporate overlords, we feel safer now 😐

  • This guy is a great presenter - and half a CENTURY ago !! - I remember watching it live with my dad, which shows how old I am.

  • + and - zero doesn't shock any matematician worth his salt. They make sense together also with zero when you are talking about limits and convergence

  • I am amased that any one Believes this mumbo jumbo fairy tales, moon landing hoax, makes me puke that they are still pushing this lies......God is real but you don't want to believe in him do you? Repent and believe, and be saved from the biggest of lies.....God bless you

  • Tremendously interesting; I have fond memories of seeing it on TV when I was a schoolboy. And don't let the length of this video scare you off. If you like tech, you'll love this. :-)

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  • Awesome!

  • Wow

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  • Fantastic!

  • Michael Collins’ book, Carrying the Fire, is an excellent account of the Apollo program from the point of view of an astronaut. He discusses the Guidance Computer. He is considered the best writer among the astronauts.

  • The software team had a computer in the office which was not an actual AGC, but which was equivalent. They were able to simulate the landing and all other functions. Regarding the remark about one’s complement machines, while they have fallen out of favor, all of the early computers from Control Data were one’s complement. A great deal of scientific and engineering work was done on those machines.

  • One thing I like about this is that the presenter, while British, doesn’t have a problem with using US Customary units. Real engineers know that units are arbitrary. The engineering isn’t in the units.

  • Never landed on the moon...Period.

  • Even though the guidance computer, and everything NASA did 60 years ago was impressive, it's uncorrect to call the "guidance computer" a computer. It is more of a sensor system with readouts. The real computers used were the most advanced of them all, still unbeaten by any computer yet made, the engineers on the ground doing the real calculations!

    • I have a graduate degree in computer science, and I call it a computer.

  • It was Margaret Hamilton who saved the mission. Give credit where credit is due. Edit: I see, at the end, he did. What she did was amazing! (from a retired systems programmer)

    • Nope.

  • Change this to it being about Harrier/fighter/missile computers because it's the exact same thing. Nobody has gone to the moon yet..

    • @native speaker English teacher Enjoy being wrong and stupid.

    • ​@Atlas Believe what you want NASA fan boy.

    • @native speaker English teacher Yes, it is.

    • @Atlas It's not true anyone went to the moon.

    • @native speaker English teacher That's not true.

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  • This explains a LOT of stuff.

  • Fake .... Nasa is fake.

    • Seriously? Uuggghhh.....

  • It's white Moss ! threds.info/hello/w-d-xo/1Li8psSNdqqkisw.html

  • question: if they had had to abort, how would they have reconnected with the orbiting module? iirc, there wasn't enough fuel to wait for collins to orbit. so does that mean, in this situation, abort equals death?

    • Why do you think there wasn’t enough fuel? They would just have had to get into a higher orbit, then the command module would manoever to pick them up.

    • Hmmm....the 'abort' separates immediately from the 'descent' module, and the ascent module flies back to orbit with the ascent engine.... just like it was the normal liftoff, but, the rendezvous would be tricky, and would have to be recalculated, and would probably take several maneuvers and several orbits to meet up again.... I'm sure there were plans...and I'm sure there would be enough fuel....

  • A "light year" is a measure of distance, not time.

    • It doesn't matter.

  • So why was full thrust 94%?

  • Very interesting thanks for sharing!

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  • I think most of the data was transmitted to Nasa. NASA computer IBM main frame computers did the calculations then sent that back to Space.

    • They did for the course corrections on the way to the moon. Not for the lunar descent.

  • Outstanding presentation!

  • 30:38 *"Zero, fourty"*

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  • 50! Where are you getting 60???

    • “I believe that this Nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth." - From a speech by President Kennedy to a joint session of Congress on 25 May 1961.

  • This guy is the quintessential nerd whisperer. I'll probably be binge watching whatever other lectures of his that I can find.

  • So much work and still people think this is a big hoax 😂

  • weaving copper wires for memory thats amazing !!!!

  • Thank you THreds recommendations algorithm.

  • An absolutely superb presentation. Thank you, Robert Wills! (You're modern analogies to the 1202 alarm are hilarious!)

  • Softwre never fails, it is always mis-design Having said that, this is a great lecture, your summary of the success of the design principles is very usefull.

  • Fantastic thanks. The bible Old Testament has a complex instructional to build a temple by weaving fabric with metal threads .

  • That was genuinely excellent, thank you! Out of curiosity how are there any 'down-votes' at all? Either the topic interests you, in which case it was a flawless presentation, or it doesn't, in which case why click on the video at all? I wonder if some people just live to be miserable!?!

    • Probably from people who don't believe we went to the moon.

  • ... ' seems legit... ;)

  • Awesome presentation! Thanks for teaching us

  • This information is available anywhere, you don't have sit through 81 minutes of this Brit.

    • What a bizarre comment. I'm guessing you knew all this before watching?

  • He really breaks this down in a clear way

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  • Outstanding! I learned a lot and enjoyed the journey, passion and intensity of the presenter...

  • Let me help you my friend. If you believe they managed to land on the moon with 60s tech but aren't able to now, you may have much more serious brain issues than caring about any of these things. Good luck.

    • Not really.

  • Amazing presenter! We must protect him at all costs!!

  • it's unbeliveable that this was possible

  • Plot twist no one ever landed on the moon

  • Nonsense . No one has been to space or the moon .

  • I want to watch Apollo 13 again, now that I know some of the jargon that they were using.

  • Great job. Well done. Also, I am sure he was born after 69!