Born in 1936, Margaret Hamilton was always interested in mathematics. Her early work, beginning in 1959, included developing weather predicting and air-defense software at MIT, in an era when computer science and software engineering were not yet established disciplines.

When NASA contracted with MIT to develop the guidance and navigation system for its Apollo Moon-landing program, Hamilton’s experience led to her becoming the leader of the team responsible for developing the spacecraft’s on-board flight software for the command module and the lunar module.

On July 20, 1969, as the Apollo 11 lunar lander approached the Moon’s surface, its computer suddenly became overtaxed. Priority displays designed by Hamilton warned the astronauts with 1201 and 1202 alarms, allowing NASA’s Mission Control to understand what was happening and alerting the astronauts to place the rendezvous radar switch in the right position. The mission was a success, Apollo 11’s crew became the first humans ever to walk on the Moon; and the software became the first software to land on the moon.

Hamilton and her team’s software was so reliable that NASA went on to use parts of it in the Skylab space station and the Space Shuttle. Hamilton is CEO of Hamilton Technologies. Its Universal Systems Language, together with its preventative life cycle and its automation, is based on her mathematical theory of control for systems and software. For her work as a pioneering computer scientist, she received NASA’s Exceptional Space Act Award in 2003, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2016.

Autor : LEGO®


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