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Old 13th December 2012, 12:37 AM   #1
Bonsai is online now Bonsai  Taiwan
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Default Technical Paper on Apollo Saturn Guidance System

A fascinating historical paper by a guy called Walter Hauessermann on the control and guidance system used on the Apollo Saturn rocket. Take a look at some of the control loop computations, and the in flight variables the engineers had to deal with . . . . kind of puts the audio amp compensation we discuss endlessly here in perspective.

http://klabs.org/history/reports/tn_...1970023342.pdf

(This fantastic site also has a lot of the circuit diagrams of the guidance computer which I posted up some months ago)

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Old 13th December 2012, 12:44 AM   #2
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Just for the fun of it, here is the guidance computer spec (remember this is c. mid 1960's technology)
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File Type: jpg Apollo guidance Computer spec.jpg (142.6 KB, 44 views)
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Old 13th December 2012, 01:20 AM   #3
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Nice paper, indeed , but this is about launch control , and at the time
this was already mature technology in military uses , a note about
the moon approach and landing control would be of first value , after
all the escape speed was roughly 10km/s and there was no other brake
that the moon attraction , so either they were on a too close trajectory
and would crash at its surface or too far and they would have vanished
in deep space if not in the sun if , well , more lucky in such a case...
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Old 13th December 2012, 03:16 AM   #4
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Inddeed - I think he probably had his hand in the military stuff as well, given his background (Werner von Braun crew).

I like the nested control loop structure - outer loop doing the trajectory and flight guidance and the inner loop doing the vehicle dynamics control.

Theres even some system phase plots in there as well.

The whole thing (i.e. the Saturn rocket) was aerodynamically unstable - it was only stable after about 60 secs into ther flight, and then for only a few seconds before reverting to an unstable mode again).

That whole guidance computer today could fit in the palm of your hand - maybe a Rasberry Pi or an mbed board with plenty of computing power to spare.
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Last edited by Bonsai; 13th December 2012 at 03:21 AM.
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