Apollo Guidance Computer Activities

AGC: Conference 4 - Slava Gerovitch's introduction

Apollo Guidance Computer History Project

Fourth conference

September 6, 2002

Slava Gerovitch's Introduction

SLAVA GEROVITCH:  I'm working both on the American part of the site, while also on the Soviet section of the site. As you probably know, all Soviet work on control systems for spacecraft was classified until very recently. And now only market pressure forced Russian institutions that were involved in the development of control systems and onboard computers, to open up and to start talking about their work. So we are using this window of opportunity--we don't know how long will it last, to talk to these people and to collect some information about their work.

And if you go to the Soviet section of our site, you will see a couple of interviews that I obtained in Moscow. I obtained a total of four interviews and there is one ongoing offline now. There will be more. The process of putting new material on the site is slow because I have to translate everything from Russian into English, and it's the weak link of the whole process.

But I had a chance to meet with a few developers of control systems and of onboard computers and of various information display systems, because these three components were all developed in different institutions in Russia. The general space program was very distributed and somewhat chaotically organized from our perspective.

So, if you have a chance to take a look at these materials, if you are interested in any aspects of it, and if you want to ask a question of your Russian counterpart, please e-mail me the question and I'll pass it on and perhaps we could ignite an interesting exchange.

As Sandy said, I'm a graduate of the STS program. And early this year, I published a book with the MIT Press on the history of Soviet cybernetics. So I'm generally a historian of Soviet computing, and this is my attempt to go into the space program and to see how computers were applied in the space program.

Alex Kosmala's introduction