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Apollo Guidance computer saved from the junkyard



NASA needed a small and lightweight computer to send people on their journey to the Moon and back, but the computers of that time were discrete components that were heavy, big, complicated, and unreliable. None of these are good properties for space travel. The agency's decision to ultimately trust the success of the Apollo program for the newly developed integrated circuit was an important milestone in computer history.

In view of the enormous task and the enormous effort, it is surprising to find out that there are not many. But perhaps not as surprising as the fact that someone has apparently thrown one of them in the trash. A former NASA contractor happened to notice one of these historic Apollo Guidance Computers (AGC) in an electronics recycling facility, fortunately saving it from being scrapped.

The AGC was actually discovered in 1

976, but it was decided to restart the computer in time for the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. A group of computer scientists in California was not only able to get the computer up and running, but to integrate it into a realistic simulator that gives players an authentic look at the moon landing in 1969.

Restoring a computer of this age and rarity is not an easy task. There are not exactly spare parts in circulation, and the team went out of their way to fix some bugs on the device. Since the restoration began last year, the entire process has been extensively documented in a series of videos on YouTube. While it is unlikely that you will find an AGC at your local recycling center, at least you know what to do with it if you do.

Thanks to [Michael Wessel] for the tip!


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