© 2010

The Apollo Guidance Computer

Architecture and Operation

  • Frank O’Brien

Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Pages 11-98
  3. Back Matter
    Pages 365-439

About this book


By today's standards, the on-board computer used by the Apollo astronaut's was a primitive affair, but in an age when most computers filled an entire room, this was small, required little power, and incorporated several technologies that were revolutionary for its time. This is the first book to fully describe the Apollo guidance computer's architecture, Executive software, and the programs used by astronauts. It describes the full range of technologies required in order to fly the Apollo lunar missions, and whicn enabled the astronauts to fly to the Moon - and back!


Apollo computer architecture Apollo flight software Apollo on-board computer aerospace engineering space engineering

Editors and affiliations

  • Frank O’Brien
    • 1
  1. 1.West WindsorUSA

About the editors

Frank O’Brien’s interest in the Apollo program began as a serious amateur historian. About 12 years ago, he began performing research and writing essays for the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal, and the Apollo Flight Journal. Much of this work centered on his primary interests, the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) and the Lunar Module. These Journals are generally considered the canonical online reference on the flights to the Moon. He was then asked to assist the curatorial staff in the creation of the Cradle of Aviation Museum, on Long Island, New York, where he helped prepare the Lunar Module simulator, a LM procedure trainer and an Apollo space suit for display. He regularly lectures on the Apollo computer and related topics to diverse groups, from NASA's computer engineering conferences, the IEEE/ACM, computer festivals and university student groups.

Bibliographic information

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From the reviews:

“This exceedingly valuable work will give present day Computer Science students the background to understand how the dramatic breakthroughs in Logical Design, Computer Architecture, Computer Language Interpreters and Real-Time Executive Software was invented, and how it worked in practice. … This excellent reference will form a model for teaching and learning historical Computer Architectures and Software so that future Computer Scientists can understand and learn the original ideas that today guide their field.” (Ira Laefsky, Amazon, September, 2010)