About the book

Display and Keyboard

The stories of the Apollo program have been told in rich detail in countless works, each providing a unique insight on the men and their missions to the moon. Often the reader is left assuming that the engineering details are understandable by only a small cadre of rocket scientists. While the fine points of spacecraft design are indeed formidable, the basic principles of each system become surprisingly familiar when revealed step-by-step.

This is especially true in computing. Each of the four sections in The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation addresses a separate aspect of the computer: The hardware architecture, the Executive and Interpreter, a spaceflight primer, and finally, the mission programs themselves. In writing the book, I was aware of two distinct and complementary audiences. The first was the spaceflight historian and enthusiast who may not have a background in computing. With their focus on mission techniques and procedures, their view of the computer is on its operational aspects, specifically its procedures and operations. The second group of readers are comfortable with computer internals and are curious how a computer manages the task of guidance, navigation and control. The contents of the book allows both sets of readers to focus on their particular interests as each section may be read independently of the others.