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Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight (Inside Technology)
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Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight (Inside Technology) [ハードカバー]

David A. Mindell
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As Apollo 11's Lunar Module descended toward the moon under automatic control, a program alarm in the guidance computer's software nearly caused a mission abort. Neil Armstrong responded by switching off the automatic mode and taking direct control. He stopped monitoring the computer and began flying the spacecraft, relying on skill to land it and earning praise for a triumph of human over machine. In Digital Apollo, engineer-historian David Mindell takes this famous moment as a starting point for an exploration of the relationship between humans and computers in the Apollo program. In each of the six Apollo landings, the astronaut in command seized control from the computer and landed with his hand on the stick. Mindell recounts the story of astronauts' desire to control their spacecraft in parallel with the history of the Apollo Guidance Computer. From the early days of aviation through the birth of spaceflight, test pilots and astronauts sought to be more than "spam in a can" despite the automatic controls, digital computers, and software developed by engineers. Digital Apollo examines the design and execution of each of the six Apollo moon landings, drawing on transcripts and data telemetry from the flights, astronaut interviews, and NASA's extensive archives. Mindell's exploration of how human pilots and automated systems worked together to achieve the ultimate in flight--a lunar landing--traces and reframes the debate over the future of humans and automation in space. The results have implications for any venture in which human roles seem threatened by automated systems, whether it is the work at our desktops or the future of exploration.David A. Mindell is Dibner Professor of the History of Engineering and Manufacturing, Professor of Engineering Systems, and Director of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. He is the author of Between Human and Machine: Feedback, Control, and Computing before Cybernetics and War, Technology, and Experience aboard the USS Monitor.


"[A] wealth of research that even the most informed space fans can enjoy. Mindell avoids the temptation to glorify the space program, instead dealing with the nitty gritty logistics involved in getting a man to the moon. Digital Apollo succeeds in providing an inside track to one of the most difficult technological challenges of the 20th century." --

" Digital Apollo succeeds in providing an inside track to one of the most difficult technological challenges of the 20th century." -- James Thorne, Cool Hunting

"Mindell joyfully plumbs the deep history of Apollo's decade-long clash between the MIT eggheads who built the computers and the thrill-jockey military test pilots who used them." IEEE Spectrum

"The book is a refreshing reminder that it is still possible to uncover new stories about the early years of the American space program."--Dwayne A. Day, Air & Space


  • ハードカバー: 376ページ
  • 出版社: The MIT Press (2008/4/4)
  • 言語: 英語, 英語, 英語
  • ISBN-10: 0262134977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262134972
  • 発売日: 2008/4/4
  • 商品パッケージの寸法: 23.5 x 18.3 x 2.9 cm
  • おすすめ度: 5つ星のうち 5.0  レビューをすべて見る (1 件のカスタマーレビュー)
  • Amazon ベストセラー商品ランキング: 洋書 - 141,081位 (洋書のベストセラーを見る)
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3 人中、3人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
投稿者 Makoto Ichikawa トップ500レビュアー VINE メンバー
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35 人中、32人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 Computers in Space 2008/5/5
投稿者 Neil S. Rieck - (
While this book dwells more on computers than astronauts, it contains details from the actual moon landings that I've never seen published elsewhere. Despite contrary opinions by the astonauts, this book has convinced me that a 100% all-human landing (without computers) was not technically possible. If you liked "Journey to the Moon: The History of the Apollo Guidance Computer" then you'll like this.

p.s. This book describes the operation of a zero-weight low-tech technology known as the LPD (landing point designator) which is comprised of colored markings on the commander's window. One of the AGC display lines tells the commander which lines to look through.
27 人中、25人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 "Soul of a new machine" for Apollo 2008/9/10
投稿者 Cicero - (
Thankfully the publisher used silky cream paper to print this book. Both your hands and your brain are pampered. Clear line illustration inside with a fantastic cover graphic, this book rewards the touch of your hand by taking you on a magic carpet ride through the inner workings of developing the guidance and navigation systems for the moon shot. It is the "Soul of the New Machine" for the Apollo program.

It's a fascinating account of how the guidance computer and the human astronaut (and flight controllers) struggled to rely on each other for the landing on the moon. The love-hate emotions of the computer-astronaut interface are felt throughout the book. Although there is no shortage of technical detail, it all seems essential to the narrative. Initially, it seems as if the book is losing focus, but soon the connections become clear: the book reads like a detective novel.

If you have read two or more books on the space program, this should be your next purchase. Once you have read one Apollo book, there is a lot of repetition - not here. It provides many details the others lack.

A secondary audience for this book is anyone interested in IT project management. This book provides a case study on complex, mission-critical project management. Much to be learned. This should be required ready for engineering majors.

At under $20, this book will set off fireworks in the pleasure centers neurons.
18 人中、17人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 A fascinating story of man and machine and the best they can do together 2008/12/2
投稿者 Rich Reinert - (
Just to be clear, I have a degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, obtained in the year 1968, when astronauts first reached the moon. I have made a career in aerospace ever since. With this background I found the book to be fascinating and read it from cover to cover in about 2 days. physically the book is of extremely high quality and very well produced. A pleasure to hold. The book is very well written, and the technical discussions are comprehensive, accurate and enlightening. Despite a career long informal study of the Apollo Program, I learned a lot. (such as what really happened during the Apollo 11 descent and landing). Figures and tables are well chosen and well presented thoughout. The descriptions of the people involved are interesting and insightful. They ring true. I'd recommend this to anyone with a backgound in computers interested in Apollo, and anyone with a backgound in space systems interested in computers.
18 人中、16人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 2.0 Don't get the Kindle edition! 2010/8/15
投稿者 J. Callen - (
I'm a space geek, and I found the material in the bok fascinating. I worked for a time at Intermetrics, the software company founded by some of the people mentioned in the book as denizens of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which also added interest for me.

BUT - the Kindle edition is dreadful! A number of the figures have disappeared (only the captions appear), and the figures that ARE there are nearly unviewable (at least on my 1st generation Kindle). Do yourself a favor and buy the physical artifact.
7 人中、7人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
5つ星のうち 5.0 A Benchmark Study that Redefines the Interaction of Human and Machine in the Race to the Moon 2009/7/29
投稿者 Roger D. Launius - (
"Digital Apollo: Human and Machine in Spaceflight" by David A. Mindell is an excellent work of history and a benchmark in the study of Project Apollo. It will become a starting point for all future work on the technology of this important space effort. The landscape of Apollo is littered with general histories, memoirs, and run-of-the mill popular accounts, but outstanding historical writing on the subject is much less common.

In the past most historians have focused on one of five major areas relative to Apollo. These include the foreign policy and public policy antecedents of Apollo and its immediate ramifications, the flights of the astronauts, the history of lunar science, the social and cultural history of the Moon landings, and the evolution of space technology. It is in this last category that this work makes an important contribution. While most of the prior work on the history of Apollo technology has been internalist in focus and undertaken by those mesmerized by the "nuts and bolts" story without much attention to the wider context, Mindell's account embraces a larger vision of how Apollo fit into the human/machine relationship for flight vehicles. He argues for, and then succeeds in demonstrating, a new research agenda in the history of human spaceflight that extends beyond the virtual catechism of retelling of a specific myth in the conventional story. He shows how historians might move beyond the "fetish for the artifact" that has dominated most of the historiography of Apollo.

Mindell's most significant contribution is to highlight the debate that has raged since the origins of spaceflight between the pilot/astronauts and the aerospace engineers over the degree of control held by each group in human-rated spacecraft. The engineers placed much greater emphasis on automatic control systems and sought to reduce the role of astronauts on board a spacecraft. These space engineers mostly viewed the astronaut as a "weak link" in the spacecraft control system. Of course, the question of whether machines could perform control functions better than people became the subject of considerable public debate.

The ever increasing capability of electronic systems served to undermine the argument in favor of complete human control. Despite this, the American astronauts used their celebrity status to assert more control over spacecraft systems, seeking to overcome what many thought they already were, "spam in a can." Over time they were successful, to the extent that the Space Shuttle became the first American human space vehicle that could not be flown as an automated system. This dynamic of human/machine interaction is critical to the current approach to human spaceflight, and Mindell has performed a valuable service by shining an intense searchlight on these issues.

What "Digital Apollo" does better than any work yet published, is open a window to the fascinating interactions of the astronauts and the engineers in the developing the technologies and processes necessary for the landings on the Moon. The author emphasizes the manner in which the Lunar Modules set down on the surface and the control systems that allowed that difficult task to take place. Mindell expends considerable effort to understand the design and development of the Apollo Guidance Computer, a critical piece of technology that fundamentally altered the nature of the task, and how this was employed in developing procedures for landing. The last part of this work focuses on the experience of the lunar landings themselves.

No one has explored this theme previously in the history of U.S. human spaceflight despite a large number of sophisticated analytical histories concerning Apollo technology written by master historians. Those previous works, often prepared under contract to NASA were marked by well-defined and quite restricted parameters, high levels of research in primary source documents, comprehensive treatment, and a generally turgid style. Mindell uses their documentary nature to his advantage, as grist for his novel investigation. The result is an outstanding work of history.
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