- Collection ID:
Hamilton, Margaret Heafield, 1936-
- Physical Description:
1.22 cubic feet
2 legal document boxes; 1 slim legal document box
The Apollo Flight Guidance Computer Software Collection [Hamilton] consists of reports, memoranda, and related material documenting the Apollo flight guidance software developed by Margaret Hamilton's team at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The collection also includes Hamilton's 1986 handwritten notes on selected documents.
Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection consists of reports, memoranda, and related material documenting the Apollo flight guidance software developed by Margaret Hamilton's team at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Documents include a printout from an Apollo guidance computer software simulation; software program change routing slips; reports from Apollo Guidance, Navigation, and Control (formerly Apollo Guidance and Navigation); a preliminary flight plan for Apollo 7; memoranda for the submission of MIT/IL Software Development Plan, critiquing each new official version of the flight system; guidance system documents using assorted programs, including Sundisk, Skylark, and Luminary; and an oversized Charles Start Draper Laboratory brochure. When she donated the collection in 1986, Hamilton composed handwritten notes on the history of selected documents, which are included with each document and identified in the finding aid as "[Note from Margaret Hamilton]."
The materials are arranged chronologically.
Margaret H. Hamilton (b. 1936) was the Director of Software Engineering Division at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was responsible for the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo and Skylab missions. She became known as the "Rope Mother," an apt description for her role and referred to the unusual way that computer programs were stored on the Apollo guidance computers.
Hamilton received a BA in Mathematics from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and postponed her Ph.D. work when she was offered the opportunity to work on the Apollo project. She has published over 130 papers and reports on her areas of expertise in system design and software development. In 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On November 22, 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Hamilton the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution that led to Apollo 11's successful landing.
Arranged, described, and encoded by Elizabeth C. Borja, 2017.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Donated by Margaret Hamilton, gift, 1986-1987.
Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
No restrictions on access.
Apollo Flight Guidance Computer Software Collection [Hamilton], Accession 1986-0158, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.
National Air and Space Museum Archives
14390 Air & Space Museum Parkway
Chantilly, VA 20151