"AGC and Manual Guidance of the Saturn Booster"

Frank O'Brien

Apollo historian for NASA (volunteer)
Researcher, Apollo Lunar Surface Journal and Co-editor of the Apollo Flight Journal
Lunar Module Simulator preparation, Cradle of Aviation Museum
Associate Director at the Infoage Science and Learning Center.


Guidance for the Saturn 1B and Saturn V boosters were provided by a dedicated inertial platform and computer within the Instrument Unit (IU). Despite being highly redundant, requirements for mission success demanded that an alternate means of controlling the vehicle be available. As the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) in the Command Module was monitoring the ascent, it was logically chosen for this task. In the event of a failure of the Saturn guidance system, the crew in the Apollo spacecraft can take control over guidance control using the AGC and could also provide steering commands through the spacecraft attitude controller.

After a short review of the Saturn IU and the AGC, we will discuss the procedures and capabilities available to the Apollo crew to assume guidance control over the booster.


2005 MAPLD International Conference Home Page