Apollo Flight Guidance Computer Software Collection Hamilton

Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

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.

Collection Item Biographical Note:

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.