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Digital Subscriptions > Ad Astra > 2019 - 2 > The Apollo Guidance Computer

The Apollo Guidance Computer

What would you do with a surplus Apollo Guidance Computer, a true gem of the space age? Here is one man’s quest to revive one such piece of space race history…with a lot of help from like-minded friends.

IN JIMMIE LOOCKE’S GARAGE

During December 2018 in a moderately sized hotel room in Humble, Texas, an Apollo Guidance Computer did what it was designed to do and executed approximately 2,000 instructions without errors. This 50-year-old piece of highly sophisticated and revolutionary 1960s vintage technology functioned perfectly using mostly original parts.

The small group in attendance marveled at the readings on a data scope, and stared in wonder at the result of months of research, detailed hand-tracing of old circuitry, and boundless hard work. The computer was alive and well.

So how did a critical piece of Apollo hardware, without which we never would have landed men on the Moon, end up in a hotel room surrounded by an expert technical team striving to resurrect it? The answer isn’t simple but it is quite a tale, focused on one person: a sixth-generation Texan named Jimmie Wayne Loocke.

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