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The first Apollo computer has been tracked down and “unboxed” by a South African computer engineer.
According to Gadget.co.za, Tshwane computer engineer Francois Rautenbach managed to track down the first Guidance and Navigation Control computer, used for a test flight of the Saturn 1B rocket in 1966. Gadget reported that this was the same computer model used on Apollo 11.
“On 25th August 1966, a very special computer was launched into space onboard (sic) Apollo flight AS-202,” reads the intro for the first video. “This was the first computer to use integrated circuits and the first release of the computer that took the astronauts to the moon.”
Rautenbach says the computer and memory modules were acquired by a Houston man as part of a purchase of three tons of scrap metal. Subsequent videos showed the engineer extracting the software for the computer and conducting further analysis.
Data from the Apollo computer would be shared online
“Most of us grew up with the fallacy that the AGC [Apollo Guidance Computer – ed] was less powerful than a basic programmable calculator. I discovered that this was far from the truth and that the AGC was in fact a very powerful and capable computer,” Rautenbach was quoted as saying.
The data extracted by the computer engineer would be made available online for people wishing to analyse it, he told the publication.