Rebooting a 50 Year Old Computer – Making The Apollo Guidance Computer Work Again

Rebooting a 50 Year Old Computer – Making The Apollo Guidance Computer Work Again

The Apollo Guidance Computer is a pivotal part of computer history, and it was a key part of making it possible for Apollo to land on the moon. And elsewhere on youtube a team of electronics wizards have been trying to resurrect a computer that was scrapped 50 years ago, and I was lucky enough to turn up at the exact moment they got everything running on its original hardware.

You should make a point of watching Curious Marc’s multi part series on their quest to bring this computer back to life – 50 years after it was originally built.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2KSahAoOLdU&list=PL-_93BVApb59FWrLZfdlisi_x7-Ut_-w7

50 Comments

  1. Joe Killip on November 6, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    The disaster we see in California is because of the computer and Demacrats wanting to control the world look at how they destroyed so many beautiful cities



  2. Ricardo Becerra on November 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    wow when you where removing the memory module, I was waiting for HAL to beg you to stop! lol



  3. Steve Vernon on November 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    i want to know why the clock/calendar behind them says Thursday May 6th, was this filmed in 2010?



  4. Hamish Davidson on November 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Actually that Apollo guidance computer was used in alot of military applications and I’m surprised these gentleman had access to it. I’m sure of some of these applications are still used today.



  5. Walter Yancey on November 6, 2019 at 5:53 pm

    Watching these videos makes me feel like a caveman (no insults intended to cavemen).
    I’m just so uneducated in high level electronics discussions.
    My heartfelt thanks that these guys have the knowledge to do such things!
    "I’m not worthy!"



  6. Soulware3D on November 6, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    Man, you speak american to americans.



  7. Tanya Sapien on November 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    5:52 "allow it to run any code that they could find"

    so you’re saying we can run doom on it



  8. ObjectsInSpace Man on November 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Bravo to all involved. Such an expression of the joy of discovery…. and re-discovery.



  9. pillsburied on November 6, 2019 at 5:58 pm

    Brilliant. I’ve been watching these guys working on this project for about a year I guess. I gather they are employees of a computer museum. Absolute geniuses!



  10. Scott Haley on November 6, 2019 at 5:59 pm

    I’m anxious for them to try an Apollo Applications mission simulator …. Venus Manned Flyby , for example 🙂



  11. Michael Southcott on November 6, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Interesting work by dedicated restorers. I have heard of ferrite cores but never imagined I would need ever use that knowledge. I believe that  the LM orbit to landing program called: P63 Powered Descent Initiate or verb 16 noun 54 update and display flight vectors for the command module might be replicated by science fiction screenwriters as an easter egg in future solar system exploratory shows.



  12. Chrisst on November 6, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    Where did they get it from, was it out of a recovered Command Module?



  13. Joe Simon on November 6, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    What amazes me is that we have computers today millions of times more powerful and they sometimes can’t handle programs written today



  14. JAG on November 6, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    I’ve heard the AGC had about as much memory as a modern micro wave oven. Can that be true?



  15. Sputnik on November 6, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Average hardware hacking doesn’t prove it’s suitable for the task because the task is not clearly defined. It is glibly stated as guidance… Which is phenomenally complex in 3d outer space. This is not point and shoot at many many many thousands of mph. They didn’t go.



  16. ZX Spectrum 128K on November 6, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    U guys interested in 8 bit graphics?



  17. Audi_ophile on November 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Most dudes can’t wire up a pair of fog lights on a truck, these guys just reverse engineered the computer from a spaceship….



  18. Phantom Phlier on November 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Flying safe is always a good idea but flying dangerously is so much more fun!



  19. Justin Case on November 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Crazy, but there’s way more processing power in hand-held calculator just 10 years later.



  20. BoopyTheFox on November 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    Ayyyyy, KDE 😀



  21. TheDevil on November 6, 2019 at 6:09 pm

    You can simulate this computer 🙂



  22. Bill Bob on November 6, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on YouTube. The amount of work that went into this is amazing.



  23. Edgarovski on November 6, 2019 at 6:13 pm

    Ok, but can it run Crysis?



  24. Brett Ison Gooseknack on November 6, 2019 at 6:16 pm

    It was an awesome moment when that thing came back to life. It’s a genuine credit to the team that worked on it.

    Indeed, it’s like finding an old car or motor/engine of some kind that has been sitting for 50 years, getting it going and knowing you’re the first to hear and see it run in that whole time.



  25. Maltebyte2 on November 6, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    There is me thinking im so smart installing some ddr4 ram haha



  26. Chris Musix on November 6, 2019 at 6:17 pm

    It’s Christmas Morning for Scott 8:29



  27. Don Ogoobo on November 6, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    I understand that it was the first digital computer.



  28. Robert Keefer on November 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    I was waiting for the "1201" alarm.



  29. pulesjet on November 6, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I did follow some of Curious Mark and crews work. Sure gained some respect for our humble beginnings in space. And to think. Everything it did could be accomplished with a $2.00 Arduino today ?



  30. Ferintosh Farms Photography on November 6, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Darn socialist Americans making the world a better place



  31. aG3nt oRanGe on November 6, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    What a lucky guy you are Scott! Thank you so must for sharing this. Probably the greatest retro computer of all time. Absolutely fascinating. The team involved should be commended.



  32. Felix Tandborste on November 6, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Super cool.
    Although, I expected NASA would have done all of this already. Like, immediately after retrieving the computers.



  33. Brian Morgan on November 6, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    The. AGC computer was more powerful than your phone, it had many input and outputs. Every button and light on the control panel, the gimbles, the inertia sensors, the space sextant the thrusters. Programs ran in a timed queue so that the operation was simultaneous and seamless. phones can not do this. The AGC is a marvel of technology



  34. Roma Hicks on November 6, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    Also, if anyone wants to take a look at the software that ran the guidance computer in the Apollo 11 mission, it is open source on the internet. It is an assembly language so it is rather dense and esoteric but is still absolutely interesting.

    https://github.com/chrislgarry/Apollo-11



  35. Lawrence D’Oliveiro on November 6, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    3:22 KDE user!

    (That’s the GUI I use on my Linux desktops too.)



  36. S & M Tamblyn on November 6, 2019 at 6:29 pm

    And I have trouble working Windows



  37. Fat Roberto on November 6, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    You have to remember that, only a few years after this, a very young Bill Gates could fit a complete BASIC interpreter into 4kBytes of memory. Now, the millennials who work for his old company would need 4GBytes to do the same job.
    Computers like this were coded at a bit level, not a byte level. Every single bit programmed by setting a row of switches and pressing a button!



  38. vaultboy 124 on November 6, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    i would buy a fully functional miniature mounted AGC that could let you input code so you could see what astronauts would see 60-ish years ago.



  39. Brian Engelhardt on November 6, 2019 at 6:32 pm

    Loved the NASSP shoutout. I was a developer on that project for about 2-3 years starting in 2006. It’s still one of the things I enjoyed working on the most.



  40. Unemployed Archmagister on November 6, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow to a Modern Vintage Gamer episode titled: “Doom homebrew for the Apollo guidance computer”



  41. lionchamp29 on November 6, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    Hundred thousand wires is less complicated?



  42. Jane Xemylixa on November 6, 2019 at 6:33 pm

    I don’t understand almost any tech behind this, but I’m just getting sentimental over here. They brought this funny old machine back out to light, they fixed the missing connections, they introduced themselves to it via its own ultrafast and super-miniaturized grandchildren… and then, after 50 years of dormancy, albeit in a simulation, let it do the one thing it was born to do and was born to do _well._



  43. Ricky Chon on November 6, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    Imagine people 50 years from now restoring computers from this decade. The capabilities of future computers is just insane.



  44. ShamblerDK on November 6, 2019 at 6:37 pm

    I understood all of it Scott and you’re right, when you say it’s fascinating 🙂



  45. AZaph on November 6, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    Didn’t Neil Armstrong have to turn off the flight computer during descent, and take manual control of the spacecraft, because the computer became overwhelmed with the amount of oncoming data?



  46. S & M Tamblyn on November 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    So your saying it never went to the moon…



  47. marck ferrari on November 6, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    Pull up your pants, kid!



  48. Julian Müller on November 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    can i play chrysis with this?



  49. dBREZ on November 6, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    I need a 1201 alarm simulation.



  50. JustWasted3HoursHere on November 6, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    The Science Channel had an excellent series on the Apollo missions called "Moon Machines". One of the episodes is on the navigation computer. Here’s the playlist (6 amazing episodes): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mucb4Ttt1oY&list=PLTu8nanTJo7GvulBxz9JT9JcXeXimM1Vr (The navigation computer is the 3rd episode). The other five episodes are:
    The Saturn V, The Command Module, The Lunar Lander, The Lunar Rover and The Space Suit. All are fascinating and well put together.