Rebooting a 50 Year Old Computer - Making The Apollo Guidance Computer Work Again

  • Published on Jul 20, 2019
  • The Apollo Guidance Computer is a pivotal part of computer history, and it was a key part of making it possible for Apollo to land on the moon. And elsewhere on youtube a team of electronics wizards have been trying to resurrect a computer that was scrapped 50 years ago, and I was lucky enough to turn up at the exact moment they got everything running on its original hardware.
    You should make a point of watching Curious Marc's multi part series on their quest to bring this computer back to life - 50 years after it was originally built.
  • Science & TechnologyScience & Technology

Comments • 1 573

  • fokin wladi
    fokin wladi 7 days ago

    can i play chrysis with this?

  • Robert Keefer
    Robert Keefer 7 days ago +1

    I was waiting for the "1201" alarm.

  • Edgarovski
    Edgarovski 8 days ago

    Ok, but can it run Crysis?

  • Steve Vernon
    Steve Vernon 10 days ago

    i want to know why the clock/calendar behind them says Thursday May 6th, was this filmed in 2010?

  • ShamblerDK
    ShamblerDK 11 days ago

    I understood all of it Scott and you're right, when you say it's fascinating :-)

  • Ricardo Becerra
    Ricardo Becerra 12 days ago

    wow when you where removing the memory module, I was waiting for HAL to beg you to stop! lol

  • Ælfwine Blackfeather
    Ælfwine Blackfeather 13 days ago +1

    I feel like I’m going to wake up tomorrow to a Modern Vintage Gamer episode titled: “Doom homebrew for the Apollo guidance computer”

  • Felix Tandborste
    Felix Tandborste 14 days ago

    Super cool.
    Although, I expected NASA would have done all of this already. Like, immediately after retrieving the computers.

  • Tanya Sapien
    Tanya Sapien 14 days ago

    5:52 "allow it to run any code that they could find"
    so you're saying we can run doom on it

  • Michael Southcott
    Michael Southcott 14 days ago +1

    Interesting work by dedicated restorers. I have heard of ferrite cores but never imagined I would need ever use that knowledge. I believe that the LM orbit to landing program called: P63 Powered Descent Initiate or verb 16 noun 54 update and display flight vectors for the command module might be replicated by science fiction screenwriters as an easter egg in future solar system exploratory shows.

  • BoopyTheFox
    BoopyTheFox 15 days ago

    Ayyyyy, KDE :D

  • Bill Bob
    Bill Bob 16 days ago +1

    This is one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen on TheXvid. The amount of work that went into this is amazing.

  • dBREZ
    dBREZ 16 days ago +1

    I need a 1201 alarm simulation.

  • Audi_ophile
    Audi_ophile 16 days ago

    Most dudes can't wire up a pair of fog lights on a truck, these guys just reverse engineered the computer from a spaceship....

  • ZX Spectrum 128K
    ZX Spectrum 128K 16 days ago

    U guys interested in 8 bit graphics?

  • AZaph
    AZaph 18 days ago

    Didn't Neil Armstrong have to turn off the flight computer during descent, and take manual control of the spacecraft, because the computer became overwhelmed with the amount of oncoming data?

  • Sputnik
    Sputnik 18 days ago

    Average hardware hacking doesn't prove it's suitable for the task because the task is not clearly defined. It is glibly stated as guidance... Which is phenomenally complex in 3d outer space. This is not point and shoot at many many many thousands of mph. They didn't go.

  • Fat Roberto
    Fat Roberto 20 days ago +2

    You have to remember that, only a few years after this, a very young Bill Gates could fit a complete BASIC interpreter into 4kBytes of memory. Now, the millennials who work for his old company would need 4GBytes to do the same job.
    Computers like this were coded at a bit level, not a byte level. Every single bit programmed by setting a row of switches and pressing a button!

  • Scott Haley
    Scott Haley 20 days ago

    I’m anxious for them to try an Apollo Applications mission simulator .... Venus Manned Flyby , for example :)

  • Brian Morgan
    Brian Morgan 20 days ago +1

    The. AGC computer was more powerful than your phone, it had many input and outputs. Every button and light on the control panel, the gimbles, the inertia sensors, the space sextant the thrusters. Programs ran in a timed queue so that the operation was simultaneous and seamless. phones can not do this. The AGC is a marvel of technology

  • Ricky Chon
    Ricky Chon 21 day ago

    Imagine people 50 years from now restoring computers from this decade. The capabilities of future computers is just insane.

  • Ferintosh Farms Photography

    Darn socialist Americans making the world a better place

  • Roma Hicks
    Roma Hicks 22 days ago

    Also, if anyone wants to take a look at the software that ran the guidance computer in the Apollo 11 mission, it is open source on the internet. It is an assembly language so it is rather dense and esoteric but is still absolutely interesting.

  • Hamish Davidson
    Hamish Davidson 22 days ago

    Actually that Apollo guidance computer was used in alot of military applications and I’m surprised these gentleman had access to it. I’m sure of some of these applications are still used today.

    • epincion
      epincion 16 days ago

      I'm sure they would simply go and buy a Playstation

  • Lawrence Wade
    Lawrence Wade 22 days ago +1

    Thank you for working so hard to preserve our technological history.

  • H smith
    H smith 23 days ago

    Anyone here really believes a man landed on the moon? with this? really? All righty then.

    • Thomas Kundera
      Thomas Kundera 12 days ago

      Twelve people in six missions between 1969 and 1972 landed on the Moon. Educate yourself.

  • Hidden Aspects
    Hidden Aspects 23 days ago

    so we can "go back" now?

  • TheDrWatson
    TheDrWatson 23 days ago

    Hey Scott, love the vid. Was wondering if you had any links to those schematics of the computer systems?

  • ofbarea
    ofbarea 23 days ago

    Thanks to Margaret Hamilton for that piece of software :)

  • Επίπεδη Γη Flat Earth Greece

    I thought we destroyed all technology that got humans on man and it was too painful to build it again. Now, all hope is restored! We are Going! Yeah!

    • Thomas Kundera
      Thomas Kundera 12 days ago

      _"I thought we destroyed all technology that got humans on man"_
      Don't worry, gays are fine :-)
      (but in any case, you have been hoaxed).

  • Dave Leland
    Dave Leland 24 days ago +1

    Geek Porn! Fantastic effort these people have put into reclaiming this historical device. Scott, I too am amazed at how far we have come, technologically speaking. Thanks for the video.

  • MrQuijibo
    MrQuijibo 24 days ago

    10:41 gave me anxiety. Imagine debugging an incorrect wire in that lot

  • rusty trammell
    rusty trammell 24 days ago +1

    My mother worked at Texas Instruments at the Dallas, TX campus. She made semi conductors and other things I can’t recall to help the space program. She was never allowed to discuss her work. Now looking back on it, my dad would always say we never went to the moon. I still have her tool box and its contents. Thanks mom!

  • Ali Gallaton
    Ali Gallaton 25 days ago

    One of my first questions is: "Can it run Snake?"

  • Chris Murdock
    Chris Murdock 25 days ago

    After hearing what the guy was saying at around 7 mins, all I could think about was a 12voltsvid clip talking about how some old glues can become conductive over time. Hopefully the potting compound won't break down soon or many more shorts could start popping up!!

  • Doc Trinos
    Doc Trinos 25 days ago

    They went to the moon and back, ok. But what if Nasa had filmed a complete mission in Nevada desert just in case something goes wrong? They didn't need 400k engineers to stage whole mission, just film crew and some props.

  • PauliE
    PauliE 25 days ago +2

    Just few wires soldered to wrong points, and Apollo would have landed on Pluto.

  • Marshall Walker
    Marshall Walker 25 days ago

    Dumped the EEPROM not RAM

    • Thomas Kundera
      Thomas Kundera 12 days ago

      It's a ROM, not an EEPROM: no way you can erase it by electric current only.

  • Em P
    Em P 25 days ago +1

    seeing this computer communicating through that basic displays, and still knowing what that thing is capable of behind that dispaly is amazing

  • Raymond Hoyland
    Raymond Hoyland 25 days ago

    Sho us the computer code

  • Simon Kunze
    Simon Kunze 25 days ago

    Real techs work on ThinkPads.

    DAVID THOMPSON 25 days ago +1

    I now believe in life after death!
    Have you guys considered makin this computer perhaps not exactly with old circuitry but perhaps updated for sale just to have it run various landing, take off, docking, retro rockets firing for the enthusiast?

  • pfefferle74
    pfefferle74 25 days ago

    That notebook must think to itself: "WTF ... I'm more than a billion times faster than this piece of junk, and they use me to be its keypad ..."

  • Yan Thisdale
    Yan Thisdale 26 days ago

    on est jamais aller sur la lune en 1969

    • Thomas Kundera
      Thomas Kundera 12 days ago

      Douze personnes, en six missions, ont marchés sur la Lune. Entre 1969 et 1972. Renseignez-vous :-)

  • skittles6699
    skittles6699 26 days ago

    Totally awesome . I love your videos. Fly safe Scott

  • Mach One
    Mach One 26 days ago

    "I'm sorry Dave, I just can't do that."

  • Mart C
    Mart C 26 days ago

    Great videos Scott

  • Matteo
    Matteo 26 days ago +1

    Why is there a date-time ITALIAN clock???

  • Bud Riley
    Bud Riley 26 days ago

    A Thinkpad running Linux, what a surprise lol.

  • Mantikal
    Mantikal 26 days ago

    What's really amazing to think about is - now. Can you even begin to imagine the amount of (ultra-light weight - by comparison) processing power that they can pack into the same space chassis and into a spaceship now?

  • Miguel Morales
    Miguel Morales 26 days ago


  • daiq9
    daiq9 26 days ago

    I love seeing people get older technologies working again.

  • Andrea Azzini
    Andrea Azzini 26 days ago +1

    What's with the clock/calendar in Italian?

  • Breeze
    Breeze 27 days ago

    This is very cool, very cool indeed! EDIT: When you seen something so good you can't contain yourself 08:32

  • Ange Einstein
    Ange Einstein 27 days ago

    8:34 that face...

  • Sultan Mabini
    Sultan Mabini 27 days ago

    To understand what theyre saying you 1st have to understand the architecture of the electronics. And to do that you have to have a degree in electronics or education of the same sort

  • ps10iceman
    ps10iceman 27 days ago +1

    thats awesome considering the original was only a movie prop nice work
    now if you could only duplicate the moon landing

    • John Palmer
      John Palmer 26 days ago

      Perhaps you could help me with something I've always wondered about... Exactly how does it feel to be so completely marginalized and irrelevant?

  • Garry Mills
    Garry Mills 27 days ago +1

    When REAL engineering was done by human hand and mind. Applaud the guys that built this. But also double applaud the guys restoring it!

  • Hello Kitty Lover Man!

    How did they get this kind of access to all this?

  • Hello Kitty Lover Man!

    I think the shuttles are just embarrassing compared to these works of marvel! The shuttles could go nowhere close to the moon and they killed people! Saturn V is just... so much more respectable to me! I just wish we had still been using them during my lifetime!

  • Hello Kitty Lover Man!

    Oh, and look at that, they have a Xerox Alto back there! That's about the niftiest early computer since this one!

  • Hello Kitty Lover Man!

    OK, so this isn't _all_ authentic. I'd like to see a version of this experiment at a time when they had gotten ALL of the original stuff, other than failed components replaced with new stock, up and running again.

  • Hello Kitty Lover Man!

    "Using a simulator on a computer." You were already talking about a computer, so this was clear as mud.
    Same with that dump of "all of the RAM that they could get onto a computer."

  • Alan B SV C'est Si Bon III

    Memories, magnetic core memory had 3wires running through each individual core, an x/y pair that target the bead and a sense wire. It was a destructive read, that is, to tell if the bead had a logic 1 in it, you applies power on the x/y pair then see if there is a pulse on the sense wire. You then had to write back the value if you wanted to retain the memory. You have no idea of how difficult it was to troubleshoot a wire wrapped backplane. At least this one wasn’t pulled tight around the pins which would have eliminated most shorts.

    • Fred Stiening
      Fred Stiening 24 days ago

      The computer I used in college in the 1970s was in IBM 1130, and it had real magnetic core memory - 8K of it. Is supported a COBOL compiler RPG, Fortran, APL, and a 30 line per minute printer!

  • Owen Goodrich
    Owen Goodrich 27 days ago

    but can it run Doom?

  • elcom_x
    elcom_x 27 days ago +1

    No problem, you only have to steal some rocket science engineer from germany.

  • Preet Dhillon
    Preet Dhillon 28 days ago

    Just because it's old doesn't mean it's broke. Awesome work guys!

  • Ding Chavez
    Ding Chavez 28 days ago

    whats the point in doing this? why not spend all that intellectual power toward something that can actually change the world or help out the environment ?

    • Lancer525
      Lancer525 26 days ago

      @Ding Chavez If the lessons of history teach us any one thing, it is that nobody learns the lessons history teaches.

      You're far too short-sighted and ignorant to understand the answer, but the knowledge of this technology *did* change the world. It put human beings on another world. It was the ignorant, uneducated, and ill-informed politicians that did nothing with it, and it was (and is) the conservitard bunch of those politicians who made the world into what it is now. They're the ones who created laws to give the rich even more, while taking everything else away from those who already had little. They're the ones who started and who continue useless wars, killing thousands so that the wealthy arms dealers can make even more profit. They're the ones who lie to you, and tell you that some of us don't matter.

      They're the ones who created morons like you who march along in lockstep and don't understand how the world really works.

    • super roblox kid
      super roblox kid 27 days ago

      @Ding Chavez my username is a joke lol

    • Ding Chavez
      Ding Chavez 27 days ago

      @super roblox kid of course you dont, you play roblox...

    • super roblox kid
      super roblox kid 28 days ago

      probably to challenge the people who are restoring it, i have no idea

  • feistybastard
    feistybastard 28 days ago

    Mom!!! Billy is launching a rocket again!!

  • TheEeveeLovers
    TheEeveeLovers 28 days ago

    title: 50-year-old
    video: 40 years old

  • Saurondor
    Saurondor 28 days ago

    Did you get to punch in the apollo 14 hack into it?

  • obusitse selebalo
    obusitse selebalo 28 days ago

    you're wearing a really cool t shirt, where can i get one?

  • Prototype Drakon
    Prototype Drakon 28 days ago

    This isn't just a flight computer.... it's a Blackbox in and of itself! If its able to tell where it used to be, even 45 or so years later, this thing was built like a early starship blackbox system... that's awesome! Why cant modern manufacturers figure out a way to do something similar with PCB? Maybe make a many layer PCB?

  • StonyRC
    StonyRC 28 days ago +9

    These guys undertook a mission worthy of 1960's NASA itself. It's also heartwarming to see both young and older minds involved in this incredible project.

  • Bret loyd
    Bret loyd 28 days ago +2

    Awesome to see a young guy (mean it respectfully) clearly so passionate about this old, historic, 20th century, has been space hunk, super refreshing. . . . humanity isn't quite f#&ked yet. . . .