MIT Science Reporter—"Computer for Apollo" (Excerpt)

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REPORTER: The Apollo computers are manufactured by the Raytheon Company in Waltham, Massachusetts. The computer itself consists of two trays, one containing logic modules, the other, memory modules.

PRESENTER: The memory modules of the computer are made using a basic component, which is a donut-shaped magnetic core. Now, this core can be placed into a component holder like so. In order to perform the wiring operation, we store about 20 feet of wire in this needle. See how that wire comes out of there. Now the operator will take core holder, and pass the needle through the core, around to the other side, and then weave it back through to a different position. Now, let's watch how the girls do this operation in a little more detail.

Now, they pass the wire back and forth stored in the needle, and put it through the cores in a particular wiring pattern.

REPORTER: Now, these address wires go to every single core?

PRESENTER: That's right.

Next, we must press the wires very gently down into place, so we'll be able to fold up the whole assembly. Now this operator is folding the core plains into a sandwich type construction, and laying them into the header of the module. Now, we're ready for electrical test. The operator puts it-- the module into this piece of special test equipment, and a program stored on paper tape is then used to exercise the module.

REPORTER: Well, this is certainly a complicated looking maze of wiring in here.

PRESENTER: That certainly is, John. That module contains 512 cores and over a half a mile of wire. And it performs the function of storing over 65,000 individual pieces of information.