Milestone-Proposal:Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC)
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To the proposer’s knowledge, is this achievement subject to litigation?
Is the achievement you are proposing more than 25 years old?
Is the achievement you are proposing within IEEE’s designated fields as defined by IEEE Bylaw I-104.11, namely: Engineering, Computer Sciences and Information Technology, Physical Sciences, Biological and Medical Sciences, Mathematics, Technical Communications, Education, Management, and Law and Policy.
Did the achievement provide a meaningful benefit for humanity?
Was it of at least regional importance?
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to pay for the milestone plaque(s)?
Has an IEEE Organizational Unit agreed to arrange the dedication ceremony?
Has the IEEE Section in which the milestone is located agreed to take responsibility for the plaque after it is dedicated?
Has the owner of the site agreed to have it designated as an IEEE Milestone? Yes
Year or range of years in which the achievement occurred:
Development began in 1962, prototype was under test in 1964, first flight operation in 1966, continued operational use until 1972
Title of the proposed milestone:
Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC)
Plaque citation summarizing the achievement and its significance:
In what IEEE section(s) does it reside?
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) which have agreed to sponsor the Milestone:
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) paying for milestone plaque(s):
Unit: Boston Section
Senior Officer Name: Robert Alongi
IEEE Organizational Unit(s) arranging the dedication ceremony:
Unit: Boston Section
Senior Officer Name: Thomas Vaughan
Unit: Boston Section
Senior Officer Name: Gilmore Cooke
IEEE section(s) monitoring the plaque(s):
IEEE Section: Boston Section
IEEE Section Chair name: Bruce Hecht c/0 Robert Alongi
Proposer name: Ted Kochanski
Proposer email: Proposer's email masked to public
Please note: your email address and contact information will be masked on the website for privacy reasons. Only IEEE History Center Staff will be able to view the email address.
Street address(es) and GPS coordinates of the intended milestone plaque site(s):
Describe briefly the intended site(s) of the milestone plaque(s). The intended site(s) must have a direct connection with the achievement (e.g. where developed, invented, tested, demonstrated, installed, or operated, etc.). A museum where a device or example of the technology is displayed, or the university where the inventor studied, are not, in themselves, sufficient connection for a milestone plaque.
Please give the address(es) of the plaque site(s) (GPS coordinates if you have them). Also please give the details of the mounting, i.e. on the outside of the building, in the ground floor entrance hall, on a plinth on the grounds, etc. If visitors to the plaque site will need to go through security, or make an appointment, please give the contact information visitors will need. Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, of Cambridge, MA, home of Charles Stark Draper, the man who lead the efforts of MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, the place where AGC was invented and developed. A second milestone plaque is being considered for the MIT campus.
Are the original buildings extant?
Details of the plaque mounting:
How is the site protected/secured, and in what ways is it accessible to the public?
The plaque will be mounted for viewing by the general public at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Cambridge. The plaque will be located outside any of its secured perimeter.
Who is the present owner of the site(s)?
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc
What is the historical significance of the work (its technological, scientific, or social importance)?
AGC and the associated Guidance, Navigation and Control System components made possible the Lunar Rendezvous Mode Trajectory used by the Apollo Program to put the first human beings on the moon and return them safely to earth
What obstacles (technical, political, geographic) needed to be overcome?
The Apollo Program was a very high profile nationally significant techno-political project with a had deadline. Many politicians, and bureaucrats interjected themselves into the finances, selection of venues for facilities, contractors, personnel, etc. On top of the above the success of the AGC was Mission Critical to the Apollo Program especially after the fatal fire on the launch pad of the prototype Apollo Command Module..
What features set this work apart from similar achievements?
AGC was a true pioneer: a mission-critical real-time, embedded digital computer system built using commercial integrated circuits
Supporting texts and citations to establish the dates, location, and importance of the achievement: Minimum of five (5), but as many as needed to support the milestone, such as patents, contemporary newspaper articles, journal articles, or chapters in scholarly books. 'Scholarly' is defined as peer-reviewed, with references, and published. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. At least one of the references must be from a scholarly book or journal article. All supporting materials must be in English, or accompanied by an English translation.
Supporting materials (supported formats: GIF, JPEG, PNG, PDF, DOC): All supporting materials must be in English, or if not in English, accompanied by an English translation. You must supply the texts or excerpts themselves, not just the references. For documents that are copyright-encumbered, or which you do not have rights to post, email the documents themselves to email@example.com. Please see the Milestone Program Guidelines for more information.
Please email a jpeg or PDF a letter in English, or with English translation, from the site owner(s) giving permission to place IEEE milestone plaque on the property, and a letter (or forwarded email) from the appropriate Section Chair supporting the Milestone application to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "Attention: Milestone Administrator." Note that there are multiple texts of the letter depending on whether an IEEE organizational unit other than the section will be paying for the plaque(s).