APOLLO GUIDANCE COMPUTER
AGC Restoration Videos and Press Coverage:
Scott Manley's video
LivingSpace.com Article about Spacefest IX
Samtec Blog Articles
Ken Shirriff Blog Articles
Purdue Space Podcast
Detailed Material Related to the Restoration Episodes
The Ron Burkley's and Mike Stewart's Virtual AGC Website is the main reference for all things AGC. Everything you ever wanted to know about the AGC, and way more, can be found on the Virtual AGC Website. That's where Ron and Mike put all the material they've recovered and scanned from many, many sources over many, many years. It's truly an Herculean effort of a site:
Below are some selected references that pertain to particular videos.
Episode 1-4: AGC Schematics
Restoring the AGC
We embark on the restoration of the computer that put man on the Moon.
Here are several references to the schematics of our AGC
Episode 7: Erasable Core Memory
Memory Module B12 Video
This video explains what's wrong with our memory module.
Core Memory Explained
This video explains how core memory works, which is helpful to understand the previous Module B12 video.
Here is some more information for our intrepid core memory weavers:
Episode 8: Malco Connector Drawings
Samtec remakes the Malco connectors, Mike turns the AGC into a Blinkenlight machine.
Episode 9: IRIG Gyro Documents
Unboxing my IRIG gyro:
We look at a few military gyros and then unbox a real Apollo IRIG gyro
Episode 10: Mike Stewart AGC Emulation Hardware and Software
Mike Flies P63, Lunar Landing
Mike Stewart has developed gate accurate FPGA replicas of the AGC and its test hardware. It represents a massive amount of work. If you are Mike, you can use it to fly the real missions, and simulate every signal in the AGC. Making this work is not for the faint or heart and requires intimate understanding of the AGC hardware and software. We offer no instructions and no support.
Mike Stewart's AGC FPGA replica source code:
AGC FPGA Test Monitor:
Bonus: AGC Verilog Simulation
Many other people have made physical implementations of the AGC, most notably John Pultorak that demonstrated first that this was possible by building a Block I replica in TTL. Their efforts are nicely summarized here:
Episode 15 and 24: Recovering lost code (Core Rope Modules Dumps)
Reading core rope modules
Thanks to our restored AGC, we can now read core rope modules that contain historically significant but previously lost code. So far we have read 9 core rope modules. Two in episode 15 (recovering Retread 50), and 7 during our East Coast tour in episode 24 (recovering part of Sundance and a complete Sundial-E). The links to the recovered software, some of with its disassembled code, are below.
Sundial -E (recovered from ropes at the MIT Museum)
Sundial-E is the Command Module equivalent of Aurora 12 which was written for the LM. It contains the full test suite of the AGC, as well as the tests for all the subsystems of the Command Module (Aurora would contain the same AGC test suite, but would have tests for the LM subsystems, which are very different). The recovered software ran on our successfully AGC after we dumped it from the original ropes.
Sundance (recovered from ropes loaned by AGC creator Eldon Hall and AGC programmer Don Eyles)
So far we have been able to recover 3 of the 6 rope modules of Sundance, the Apollo 9 LM program. Apollo 9 was the first test of the LM in space, Earth orbit. The modules we have differ as of their version of Sundance. We are in the process of disassembling the code we recovered. We have located 3 rope modules that would complete the software (which fits in 6 rope modules), and will be trying to get access to them to complete the recovery.
Retread 50 (recovered from ropes at the Computer History Museum)
Retread 50 is the first functional program written for the Block II AGC. This was used to test the functionality of the newly developed AGC. Parts of the ropes were damaged but we were able to recover the original content using the parity bit. We ran the repaired software succesfully on our AGC, and yes, it passed all the tests.
Episode 23: Flying Landings in Orbiter/NASSP
Flying landings on the AGC
Mike Stewart modified the Oribiter/NASSP simulation software to run with the real AGC flying the simulated LM. For the rest of us that does not have an AGC around, the non-modified version runs just as well using a software emulation of the AGC, so anyone should be able to fly like we did. Link below for the installation instructions.
Orbiter/NASSP installation instructions link:
In this episode, Marcel lends Carl a flight spare of a DSKY screen, two DSKY relay modules, and a DSKY power supply module. After a lot of rewiring, we finally get to see the glow of the screen, which is far better than one would expect for 1960's technology.