Instrumentation Laboratory

Quick Reference

A laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that devised the navigation and flight-control computers on board the Apollo spacecraft. An on-board computer for Apollo was deemed necessary because Apollo's lunar orbit insertion would occur on the far side of the Moon, out of contact with Earth-based computers. The basic design for the computer was completed in 1961 by Milton Trageser of MIT and Robert Chilton of NASA.

The laboratory was established in 1939 by MIT professor Charles Stark Draper. The name was changed to the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in 1970 and three years later the facility was separated from MIT as a non-profit research and development laboratory with headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It works in partnership with NASA's Johnson Space Center and Marshall Space Flight Center, having contributed operational support for the space shuttles and International Space Station.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.

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