A NASA Engineer Talks Neil Armstrong & Early Computers

Retired NASA engineer Roy Whitson was ready, willing and able to answer any questions that we (or anybody else for that matter) could throw at him. Incredibly personable and knowledgeable, Mr. Whitson happily relayed first hand accounts of some of the innermost workings of the space program, all the way from the early days in the 60s to the present.

Mr. Whitson was there through it all, designing systems for the Gemini, Apollo and finally the Shuttle programs. He knew all of the astronauts personally, and referred to these pioneer explorers in the most familiar, nonchalant manner of a trusted colleague and friend.

Our favorite story had to be how Neil Armstrong, the first man on the moon, nearly botched the lunar landing by overtaxing the computers on the landing module. The technology of the day was so primitive by today’s standards, that handling two tasks simultaneously was causing the on-board flight computer to shut down. We literally carry around more computing power in our pockets these days than was available for man’s first landing on a celestial body in space.

For more on our trip to the Kennedy Space Center and the Space Coast: https://www.gypsynester.com/spacecoast.htm

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