Así era el primitivo hardware del programa espacial Apolo
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is one of the most important academic institutions in the world. Not only have they formed many of today´s leaders inside those walls, but they have also created some major innovations and products throughout history.
The electronic hardware of the Apollo 1 was also originated and developed in MIT. Specifically, it was the Draper Laboratory, which, during the 60s, was linked to MIT under the name “MIT Instrumentation Laboratory.”

The first computer of the Apollo space missions was developed entirely in the Massachusets Institute of Technology

The name of that primitive computer was “Apollo Guidance Computer” and had an amazing performance considering the standards of the time (1960s). Its RAM had about 4096 bytes of capacity, while the ROM was composed of about 73 kilobytes (both 16 bits). The processor meanwhile operated at a speed of 2MHz.

The main processor had four major storage spaces known as “central registers”. There you could find the accumulator and program counter, plus two registers made for specific processor instructions.

Apollo Guidance Computer

In addition to these four main registers, the AGC processing unit had more than ten auxiliary memory registers.

The powerful computing unit is also highlighted as one of the first ever to use integrated circuits in its construction, which reduced the overall size of the computer and, in parallel, increased the technical capabilities of machine. However, the weight of the unit slightly exceeded 70 pounds.

Many of the innovations applied in the development of the Apollo Guidance Computer software techniques have served as a basis for programming today.

Over the years, the computer that took man to the moon and that guided the Apollo missions became obsolete. Any modern smartphone, or even smartwatch, is able to offer the same performance, and many times more, as that rudimentary computer. However, the legacy left in this rudimentary computer technology and space industry will last forever.

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Santiago Hinojosa
Santiago has been a tech enthusiast since he was 7 years old, specially of mobile technology. He lives in Mexico and studies graphic design and animation. He has a huge passion for photography and cinematography and when he´s not in school you´ll see him reading books, learning about cinematography, taking pictures and researching interesting technology topics.