NASA Office of Logic Design

NASA Office of Logic Design

A scientific study of the problems of digital engineering for space flight systems,
with a view to their practical solution.

2003 MAPLD International Conference Panel
Wednesday Evening, September 10, 2003

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Fred H. Martin
MIT/IL, Intermetrics, Averstar


Fred Martin joined MIT's Instrumentation Laboratory in 1956. He started out in an autopilot group working on analog autopilots and fire control systems and then moved into the Polaris program, working on control systems. After Polaris, he joined the Guidance and Navigation Group group led by Dick Battin which had the responsibility for programming the Apollo Guidance Computer. He became the project manager of the Command and Service module software starting in Apollo 8.

He left MIT/IL in 1969 with other members of the software effort to go to Intermetrics, where they remained tied into the space program and to NASA.    Martin worked on the programming for the Space Shuttle and Skylab, creating a new language named after a computer scientist who was at Draper, Hal Laning.  He called the language "HAL," NASA adopted it in 1975 for the shuttle and it is still the language that the shuttle is using.

Photo Credit: David Mindell, MIT
Biography from The Apollo Guidance Computer Site, David Mindell, ed., History of Recent Science and Technology Web Project,


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Last Revised: October 29, 2003
Digital Engineering Institute
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