Saturn V Launch Vehicle Digital Computer, IBM Part Number 6109030

Saturn V Computer Ring
"Saturn V Computer Ring"

Did you know that IBM designed the Saturn V Launch Vehicle Digital Computer in the 1960th ? I didn’t until my wife and I stopped at Huntsville, Alabama, on our 4-week-trip through the South States of USA, where the U.S. Space and Rocket Center is located which we visited.

IBM Team responsible for the Saturn V Instrument Unit
"IBM Team responsible for the Saturn V Instrument Unit"

IBM actually had been assigned the overall responsibility to design the Saturn V Instrument Unit and I have posted here a picture of the IBM team working on that: impressive how many people we assigned to a single project these days !

When NASA designed the Saturn V they discussed whether launch and flight of this huge rocket should be controlled by the astronauts or automatically. They came to the conclusion that stress during launch due to vibrations and noise during takeoff whould be too much for human beings so that they better design some instrument unit controlling the launch phase of Apollo missions.

This turned out to be a wise decision when the rocket was hit by electrical discharges during takeoff of Apollo 12. The Command Module where the astronauts are sitting went offline but Saturn V continued its flight without any major impacts, under control by the Instrument Unit. Later on astronauts were able to bring the Command Unit back online.

This wikipedia article about the Launch Vehicle Digital Computer (LVDC) has a link to a pdf copy of the IBM maintenance instructions where I found the IBM part number mentioned in the title of this posting.

My favorites for week 8, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout cubicle landscapes

  One of the many reasons why I love Dilbert comics is that they very often are about the pleasure to work in these modern cubicle landscapes our employers have crafted for us. Well, I only go there if I have to, otherwise I stay at home. Why should I go through this morning commute madness ( actually not so bad in my case; just a 20 minute car ride into Mainz, a medium size town in Germany ) just to get to a place where I actually can not work efficiently ?

Anyway, here is another nice one about this topic:

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout an amazing Guitarist

Thinking outside the box might mean to use a tool in a very different way than people do usually. Watch Erik Mongrain playing his guitar in a very different way …
Amazing Guitarist

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout a crater in Death Valley.

Little Hebe Crater
"Little Hebe Crater" by stevelyon.

Apparently the Little Hebe Crater must be somewhere in the Death Valley Area, as I assumed when looking at this photo by Steve Lyon, and as I confirmed through Wikipedia. I must have missed it when I was there in 1995. May be next time. You can’t see everythng when travelling…

Surprise Something to surprise: my favorite "I really didn’t know this" of the weekabout facebook

  Did you know that

  • Facebook has 642 726 020 users world wide,
  • most Facebook users come from the US, where 49 % of the population have joined this social network,
  • Germany is on rank 11 with 16 million users, that is 19 % of all Germans
  • in the US the majority of Facebook users are female.

Source: These statistics are available here on socialbakers.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout language

Language is the source of misunderstandings.

Especially human language ! Watson did a great job last week to deal with this and win the Jeopardy! Challenge. In case you missed it you may want to head to my stream of IBM related videos on youtube and find there 6 10-minute video clips showing how the 20-minutes show episodes went last week on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, or you may just want to watch this nice 10-minute summary. A collection of articles about Watson I have collected here as a Goodle Bookmarks List.

My favorites for week 3, 2011

Big GrinSomething to laugh: my favorite comic strip of the weekabout feedback

It’s probably a good advice to give feedback only to people who ask for it. They will be the ones who appreciate your effort. Don’t come up with feedback if people who are supposed to digest it are not in the mood to do so, like Charlie Brown here in this Peanutrs comic strip.  And keep in mind – as I mentioned here in “Handling Feedback”: Participation in feedback should be voluntary, for the feedback receiver, and for the one giving feedback !

NerdSomething to watch: my favorite video clip of the weekabout domino

Domino Day at someones home: watch this "Amazing domino video for Restless Legs".

  Something to enjoy: my favorite photo  on flickr under a Common Creative licenseabout the moon and winter in Denmark

I believe the moon looks the same anywhere, nevertheless here is a great shot of the moon from Flemming from Denmark. And if you want to get an impression how winters look like in Denmark check out the other photo: “Winter in Denmark”.

"DSC_1708" by flemming. d5000.
DSC_1240_Winter in Denmark
"DSC_1240_Winter in Denmark" by flemming. d5000.
Cool Something to discover: my favorite bookmark of the weekabout comparing countries

IfItWereMyHome is a nice web site allowing you to compare countries in terms of how it would be to live there instead of your own country. For example if you currently live in USA moving over to Germany would

  • make you consume 50 % less oil,
  • give you 25 % more free time,
  • makes you staying alive for 1.17 extra years.

Those and more interesting facts about countries compared to other countries plus a nice map on the right comparing countries by its size are available on this web site.

Something to talk about: my favorite quote of the weekabout patents @ IBM

It took 50 years for IBM to have 5000 patents. In 2010, IBM received more than 5000 patents!

Since 18 years IBM is the company with the most patents. IBM’s worldwide patent portfolio exceeds 40,000 active patents ! Amazing what 400.000 smart people can achieve, isn’t it ?
From my presentation I use every year for Engineers Weeks here is a chart showing some of the most famous IBM patents: