Apollo Guidance Computer Activities

AGC biography - Charles Stark Draper

Charles Stark (Doc) Draper

doc.gif (8437 bytes)Born in 1901, Charles Stark Draper was educated at MIT earning an S.B. in 1926, and an Sc.D. in physics in 1938. He was appointed an assistant professor in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT in 1935.  Dr. Draper soon formed MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory with a small group of students and technicians.  His work at MIT/IL led to the development of the Mark 14 gunsight during World War II, and after the war, the development of inertial guidance and navigation systems for the US military -   Polaris, Poseidon, Trident I, and Trident II. 

In 1961, Draper and his lab were awarded the contract for guidance and navigation for the Apollo program, the first program contract to be awarded and under his leadership, MIT/IL developed the highly innovative and successful AGC.  Personally, Draper was strongly in favour of the US space program, going so far as to offer his services as navigator for the Apollo flights. In 1973, the Instrumentation Laboratory was spun off from MIT and the new lab was named the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.  Draper died in 1987.

Read Draper's letters to Bob Seamans, offering his services as Apollo navigator [letter1, letter2]


-- A.B., Jan, 2002.