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Who Knew?

A brief history of the famous 1969 photo of the software that sent humans to the Moon.

By Maia Weinstock | MIT News Office
August 17, 2016

Half a century ago, MIT played a critical role in the development of the flight software for NASA’s Apollo program, which landed humans on the Moon for the first time in 1969. One of the many contributors to this effort was Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist who led the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which in 1961 contracted with NASA to develop the Apollo program’s guidance system. For her work during this period, Hamilton has been credited with popularizing the concept of software engineering. FOR MORE

Margaret H. Hamilton: Apollo Computer Programmer

Margaret H. Hamilton is a computer scientist who was instrumental to NASA’s efforts to land humans on the moon in the 1960s and 1970s. For her work, she was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Hamilton led the software engineering division at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Instrumentation Laboratory. In that role, she took the lead on the software used to govern the flight dynamics of the Apollo spacecraft, which were used for six landing missions between 1969 and 1972.  FOR MORE

Photo: MIT Museum


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