Apollo Guidance Computer Activities

AGC - Visual Introduction to the AGC

Visual Introduction to the AGC

[Click on pictures for larger images] 

The Apollo Guidance Computer was a digital, real-time machine that controlled and integrated numerous functions of the Apollo command module and the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). 

AADM8.GIF (41798 bytes)It functioned as a "digital autopilot," which took commands from the astronaut/pilot and fired the spacecraft's thrusters accordingly. It also included an inertial platform which contained gyroscopes and sensitive accelerometers to keep track of the spacecrafts motions, and optical sighting equipment to align the unit using star sightings.



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The machine sat inside the command module, the cramped component at the top of the Saturn V rocket stack which the crews inhabited for the journey to and from the moon.





Graphic of CM components




Another illustration of the astronaut as user of the AGC system, showing the innovative "DSKY" unit (for Display and Keyboard) and the optical alignment instruments.





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Another complete version of the AGC sat inside the Lunar Excursion Module (or LEM), to guide the descent from lunar orbit to the moon's surface. It, too, controlled thrusters, contained an inertial guidance unit, and interacted with the astronauts.

All photographs on this site, unless noted otherwise are owned and were provided by The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc., in Cambridge MA.  All rights reserved; reprinted with permission.




site last updated 12-08-2002 by Alexander Brown