Apollo AGC Part 1: Restoring the computer that put man on the Moon

Apollo AGC Part 1: Restoring the computer that put man on the Moon

We embark on the restoration of a very rare and historically significant machine: the Apollo Guidance Computer, or AGC. It was the revolutionary MIT-designed computer aboard Apollo that brought man on the Moon (and back!). Mike Stewart, space engineer extraordinaire and living AGC encyclopedia, spearheads this restoration effort. In this first episode, we setup a makeshift lab in his hotel room, somewhere in Houston. The computer belongs to a delightful private collector, Jimmie Loocke, who has generously allowed us to dive in the guts of his precious machine, with the hope of restoring it to full functionality by July 2019, the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing.
Frequent comment answers:
Yes we know about Francois Rautenbach and the Block I core ropes (https://youtu.be/WquhaobDqLU). These ropes are also from Jimmie and not compatible with our Block II computer
Yes we are in contact with Fran https://youtu.be/UjcfepTdvZI (and several others) about their superb DSKYs replicas.
Some relevant links:
Playlist of the restoration series: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-_93BVApb59FWrLZfdlisi_x7-Ut_-w7
Block I AGC period documentary: https://youtu.be/ndvmFlg1WmE
Inertial navigation system documentary: https://youtu.be/wD97RSpiZe0
Schematics: https://www.ibiblio.org/apollo/ElectroMechanical.html
and: https://archive.org/details/agc_handbook_jp2
Mike’s AGC backplane viewer: http://apolloguidance.computer/2003100_071/pins
AGC software repo: https://github.com/virtualagc/virtualagc
The Ultimate Apollo Guidance Computer Talk: https://youtu.be/xx7Lfh5SKUQ

50 Comments

  1. Duke Nukem on February 8, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    People like these guys "NERDS" are the unsung heroes, they are the people who really make the World go Round
    And the Moon… πŸŒ™
    πŸ€—



  2. Upcycle Electronics on February 8, 2020 at 9:42 pm

    I’m here. I subscribed. I blame Scott Manley.
    Thanks πŸ™‚
    -Jake



  3. tthutch on February 8, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    It probably would have gotten a good shake on the Saturn V! j/k (11:22)



  4. JS61 on February 8, 2020 at 9:45 pm

    Just spent today watching the series. Seriously fantastic stuff. Loved all of it. My hat goes off to those who put this together in the 60’s and you guys who took on its resurrection. Grats to all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  5. john fitzgerald on February 8, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Percussive maintenance will fix anything, even 50 year old electronics.



  6. Andrew Hayes on February 8, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Potted? does that mean sealed in wax?
    I watched again and now realise they potted with foam



  7. Artemis Live on February 8, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Time to restore the crew module and the rest of the saturn v and go back to the moon



  8. Jack Whittaker on February 8, 2020 at 9:50 pm

    and how did Mr. Jimmie Loocke come into possession of this historic artifact ?



  9. Rv4 Guy on February 8, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    So guys just bought this stuff at junk shops in the 70s? I wonder what else he has?



  10. 5Andysalive on February 8, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    3:05 is where the legend of Mike working for SpaceX started….

    Which leads to some people much later thanking Sapcex for helping rstoring the AGC…..



  11. Sebastian ArgaΓ±araz on February 8, 2020 at 9:54 pm

    I’m watching this whole series with nice hot drink and a nice sweet treat



  12. Felenov-official on February 8, 2020 at 9:55 pm

    I like this kind of hotel room too. Full of nerds and good test gear.



  13. Disruptive_Innovator on February 8, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Scott sent me. Amazing work! Thank you to everyone involved! And thank you for sharing the vids too! Super fascinating!



  14. John Oneill on February 8, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Got referred here from Scot Manley’s channel, absolutely awesome! Well done guys, am settling in to watch whole series and sending link to everyone i know πŸ™‚



  15. MadFinnTech on February 8, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Someone clueless could think you guys are building a bomb in that hotel room.



  16. Ariaditya Pramestu on February 8, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    Saw you on wall street journal, here to subscribe



  17. foster cathead on February 8, 2020 at 10:02 pm

    7:50 Careful there!



  18. Elsa Braun on February 8, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    I’m so deeply grateful for Mike, Carl, Ken, and Marc who contributed some funds and especially their tech restoration expertise and time to restore this critical piece of US history. Thanks Samtec for sponsoring the project.



  19. The Stupid will Inherit the Earth on February 8, 2020 at 10:06 pm

    ProTip: Take those NASA stickers off the suitcases before the thing gets stolen.



  20. Neighborhood Car Reviews on February 8, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    My head is overloaded with all this. I can’t even begin to describe how awesome this is. The Manned Spaceflight Programs of the late 50’s through the 70’s (Mercury/Gemini/Apollo) are among my passions.



  21. Diachron on February 8, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    This is phenomenal. I’m going to relish every episode.

    P. S. Did the hotel know this was going on? What did you tell housekeeping?



  22. Kari Greyd on February 8, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Just awesome!



  23. Quaalude Charlie on February 8, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Lot’s of Gold . If you fix it will there be Moon Missions ? πŸ™‚ QC



  24. Jeff Liggett on February 8, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    Scott sent me.



  25. MrThatsomg on February 8, 2020 at 10:12 pm

    im sorry did anyone else hear "should we bow?"



  26. Max Z on February 8, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    Oh just some nerds making what looks like a bomb..



  27. Zack Sargent on February 8, 2020 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks Scott!



  28. Justin Teixeira on February 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Fantastic work! Thanks guys!



  29. James Byron Dean on February 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Historic early NASA technology, core rope memory, 64K? Amazing.



  30. Ericramone78 on February 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    Flat earth’er and moon landing losers begone !



  31. BADGUY 1 on February 8, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    I believe Raytheon may still have the prints for the AGC? Maybe they would have sent someone out to assist?



  32. Joe Doe on February 8, 2020 at 10:17 pm

    I’ve been wondering does this old computer tech resist cosmic rays better? I imagine our computers nowadays are densely packed and more prone to failure, easily burned out.



  33. SternLX on February 8, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    You know what I just realized, there’s at least one more surviving original AGC out there. It’s still flying on Snoopy!!



  34. Boonedock Journeyman on February 8, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Inspirational effort. Exactly what this nation needs right now.



  35. Inglonias on February 8, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Where did this AGC end up after the whole tour was over?



  36. Rv4 Guy on February 8, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    Nerdgasm. And there are twits who say it was all fake …. this stuff is all there and it all works. Thank you for bringing it back to life.



  37. Christian Ivarsson on February 8, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    Thank you for assembling a playlist, Marc πŸ™‚



  38. Strothy2 on February 8, 2020 at 10:22 pm

    okay let’s go through the series again… I mean this is better than cinema and on the second screen Kerbal Space Programm πŸ˜€



  39. Wisdom Night on February 8, 2020 at 10:23 pm

    Imagine the maid just getting in and trowing everything thinking its a bunch of trash 😁😁😁



  40. LastV8Interceptors on February 8, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    Oh gosh. <3



  41. Bob Bailes on February 8, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    That’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen I hope to God this goes down in history



  42. Chris K on February 8, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    Hahah the French interviewer adds a good dynamic



  43. Johnny Bullseye on February 8, 2020 at 10:28 pm

    This is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever seen. Wow.



  44. 5mnz7fg on February 8, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    Why do they need gloves?



  45. Roland's Recycling on February 8, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    Here from the future:
    That B1 module is bad btw. Have fun un-potting



  46. aserta on February 8, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    That’s actually a brilliant way to test configurations for chips, obviously, obsolete today, because of simulated components, but still. Prolly should have gone full old school and used tall felt to push the chips in.



  47. Derp'e'ty'derp on February 8, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    Massive kudos. Massive.



  48. returnofbeaux on February 8, 2020 at 10:34 pm

    I wonder if they’ve had any help from universities or labs with remote imaging technology.



  49. Elsa Braun on February 8, 2020 at 10:36 pm

    Just found this. Love the video series. Thanks so much for filming all of this.



  50. TinyMaths on February 8, 2020 at 10:38 pm

    For some reason Part 12 has been popping up in my suggestions for the past couple of days, so after watching the beginning of that, I decided to come back in order to watch the whole series. We are truly spoiled nowadays. When I was a kid in the early 80’s, tinkering around with my dad’s old radio’s and Hi Fi equipment (being completely unaware of what I was doing, but just ignorantly curious) the only available inspiration was the ‘How Things Work’ programs infrequently shown on UK TV, which I enjoyed watching. And now this! It’s like Christmas whenever you want it to be.