Image of <i>Apollo</i> GNC System Simulator Apollo GNC System Simulator
Apollo Block II Computer Guidance, Navigation, and Control System Simulator, Charles Stark Draper and MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, 1960s

“The guidance equipment for the mission was created out of first principles, prolific imagination, and a lot of hard work.” – David Hoag

When President John F. Kennedy challenged the nation to “landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” in 1961, NASA swiftly turned to MIT’s Instrumentation Laboratory to solve the navigation problems of hitting a target some 250,000 miles away. The Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Flight System was designed, tested, and modified many times. Under the leadership of Professor Charles Stark Draper, the Instrumentation Laboratory contributed to the work of building systems for eight Earth-orbital and nine lunar missions.

This simulator was used to test the hardware and software for every Apollo mission. Initially, the astronauts used it as part of their training. Due to their tremendous scheduling demands, however, additional simulators were built for use at the Manned Spacecraft Center (NASA Johnson) in Houston.

Courtesy of The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.

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  • I can admit that, as an engineer, I love to dig in to the details, and use my engineering knowledge to sniff out the root cause of a problem.

    If you love to solve problems, it can be easy to overlook that there may be some much simpler ways to get the job done.

    MIT instrumentation laboratory did the same for Apollo mission for NASA.
    says :
    control is not well-understood by “lay people”. Twenty years after paying for my college education, my parents still have only a vague understanding of what it is that a inst. & control engineer actually does.

    when saw them pdf of Apolla mission and what is role of instrumentation and control system in our daily life …they really proud what we do
    thank u to brings such encouraging things.

    29 Apr 11 at 1:01 am