Tales from the Lunar Module Guidance Computer

19 October 2018, h. 17:00, Politecnico di Milano, Aula L.13, Building B12
Via La Masa, 34 - 20156 Milano


Don Eyles wrote in the 60's a large part of Apollo's computer software, in particular the routines of the Moon landing for all Apollo missions.
During the conference, he will bring us back in time and will make us live again the unforgettable moments of the Moon landing.


Education – B.A., Boston University, College of Liberal Arts, 1966, mathematics

Employment History
MIT Instrumentation Laboratory / Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, 1966-1998

Apollo, 1966-1972
Programmed the lunar landing guidance equations, throttle control algorithm, powered flight ignition sequencer, aborts monitor, coordinate transformation procedures, terrain model, and landing analog displays in the Lunar Module computer. Participated in operational planning and astronaut training. Received the NASA Public Service Award for devising workaround for a problem encountered during the Apollo 14 mission.

Shuttle, 1972-1984
Influenced crew interface design. Built prototype flight software for Space Shuttle simulations. Developed Timeliner system for initializing and sequencing simulations.

Space Station, 1984-1998
Led Space Station simulator project. Created computer-graphics system to provide multiple visualization functions in simulation and onboard manned spacecraft. Participated in International Space Station (ISS) redesign. Sold Timeliner to NASA for use as ISS user interface language and led task to adapt Timeliner for that purpose. (Now in use on ISS in three versions.) Awarded US Patents 5978786 and 6192356. for Timeliner.

Guest lecturer on Apollo at MIT.
Technical Consultant: “From the Earth to the Moon,” HBO, 1998.
Photographer and Sculptor

Selected Publications
“Apollo LM Guidance and Pilot-Assistance During the Final Stage of Lunar Descent”. IFAC journal Automatica, 1972.

“At NASA, Where Was ‘What-If?'”, New York Times, March 12, 1986

“A Computer-Graphics System for Visualizing Spacecraft in Orbit”, Pictorial Communication in Virtual and Real Environments, Stephen Ellis editor,
Taylor & Francis, 1991, 1993

“A Time-Oriented Language for the Writing of Procedures to Sequence the Operation of a Spacecraft and Its Systems”, AIAA Computing in Aerospace Eight, 1991

“Tales from the Lunar Module Guidance Computer”, 27th Annual AAS Guidance and Control Conference (AAS 04-064), 2004 (also available at

Sunburst and Luminary: An Apollo Memoir, Fort Point Press, Boston, 2018

The event will be held in english.

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