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Journey to the Moon (Library of Flight) Paperback – January 1, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-1563471858 ISBN-10: 156347185X

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Journey to the Moon (Library of Flight) + The Apollo Guidance Computer: Architecture and Operation (Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration) + LEM Lunar Excursion Module Familiarization Manual
Price for all three: $104.70

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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Flight
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics & Ast (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156347185X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1563471858
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,502,750 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Eldon Hall has done something rare with this book.
Robert I. Hedges
A super volume - full of detail, a super account of the development of the guidance computer used by the Apollo flights.
Mark Bladon
Anyone interested in the Apollo project is likely to enjoy this book.
W. Farnell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Mark Bladon on June 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
A super volume - full of detail, a super account of the development of the guidance computer used by the Apollo flights. At the same time, this excellent book is a fascinating account of the growth of the computer itself; we forget how much technology Apollo kick-started, and this book illustrates very effectively the genesis of a new, extraordinary industry
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 13, 1999
Format: Paperback
Eldon thank you for putting to paper this bit of history. The photos are great. I really gained a sense of the time, the challenges, and the accomplishments.
I try to imagine after reading your book, how proud you must be to have helped make history. The Apollo program is the greatest accomplishment of the 20th Century.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Robert I. Hedges HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 5, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Eldon Hall has done something rare with this book. He has taken a very complex subject, nearly forgotten due to time, and made it utterly relevant and engaging. For anyone with an interest in either space or computer history, this is a vital book.
It is somewhat technical (I had no idea how they made rope memory modules, an early ROM format before this book for instance), but Hall is very careful to explain things in terms that an average reader can readily understand.
The book itself documents the Apollo Guidance Computer from conception through numerous iterations and changes, to final successful lunar landings. Although the AGC capabilities seem trivial today, the AGC was the world's first Integrated Chip computer, and had enormous hurdles to overcome. In the end, of course, we know that Hall and his fellow employees at MIT did a good job...what I didn't know before was exactly what they had to do and the challenges they had to overcome.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was a pathfinder in the truest sense of the word. Built in a time when computers where as large as rooms, the AGC was an immense undertaking that culminated in a beautiful, elegant, compact machine that guided our astronauts to the lunar surface and back without failure. The Apollo Guidance computer was, alas, already obsolete by the time it flew to the moon. "Moore's Law" (where computing power doubles every year or at least every 18 months) had once again proven itself axiomatic. Being digital even in an analog age wasn't easy, but the folks at the MIT Instrumentation Lab pulled it off with great success.
Eldon C. Hall weaves for the reader a journey that reveals the gestation of the computer from it's inception through the actual lunar missions. This is a must-read for anyone interested in the computers that they sit in front of on a daily basis. The AGC helped weave today's digital DNA.
The Apollo Guidance Computer-Just think of it as having a little bit of the Moon in your PC.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 14, 1996
Format: Paperback
Eldon Hall, one of the designers of the Apollo guidance computer,
has put together the definitive history of this extrordinary
machine. He builds the story from early research projects at the MIT
instrumentation lab, and takes the reader through the development
process, and up to the the final design. As Journey to the Moon is
a highly technical story, the general reader may get lost in some of
the more technical details. Fear not! Much of the technical details
can be safely ignored without loosing the story line.

A superb collection of color pictures are included, and are
alone worth the price of the book.

Drawbacks? Most glaringly, this is a story about the hardware.
Very little insight is given on the software development effort.
Major software developers, like Alan Klumpp and Donald Eyles
are not even mentioned.

Also, dispite the fact the computer interacted mostly with the
guidance platform, we learn very little about it.

Dispites these grumblings, the book is an excellent reference,
and should be on every space historians bookshelf.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. M. Hughes on January 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book presents a close-up look at the challenges of devising new and novel technological solutions from the unique perspective of a person who was there when it was happening. The stories of some of the people behind the innovations provide a rare glimpse into the thinking and personalities of the engineers involved with the development of the AGC, and the descriptions of the interactions between NASA and the engineers at MIT offer some unique insights into the dynamics of how space missions really happen.

Computer technology has changed dramatically since the days of Apollo, and that change is due in large part to the Apollo program. Comparing the photographs of the prototype systems for the AGC to the package that actually flew on the spacecraft gives new meaning to word "amazing". The software that ran on the AGC was also a stunning feat in and of itself. The AGC utilized real-time multi-tasking before it was even a commonly accepted approach in the software industry (and it's now a standard feature of every cell phone and MP3 player).

The text is well-written and easily accessible, with enough details to keep the more technical minded reader interested. As someone who stood on a hill behind his house in Florida as a kid and watched the Saturn V rockets disappear over the horizon, stayed up late to watch Neil Armstrong step onto the surface of the moon, and then later ended up working in the aerospace industry, this book has a special meaning for me. I highly recommend it.
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