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Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane on “The Amazing Flight Software People”

Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane has some thoughts about the IBM team who built the Shuttle onboard flight software.

Space Shuttle First Flights: The Amazing Flight Software People

The people who designed, tested and supported the Space Shuttle Flight Software were the most exceptional technical team I’ve encountered.

Space Shuttle First Flights: STS-1 (Columbia) The First Orbital Flight

Our Shuttle flight software team had the “distinction” of hearing Walter Cronkite describe, live and on national television, whether we’d done our work correctly.

Space Shuttle First Flights: John Aaron (Software Failure Is Not An...

I met with John Aaron to explain why IBM couldn’t fulfill a Shuttle software contract that required zero errors. His answer changed my mind.

Space Shuttle First Flights: John Aaron (Error-Free Code?)

NASA required IBM’s Space Shuttle software to be delivered “error-free”. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand the likelihood of that was extremely low.

Space Shuttle First Flights: Phil Shaffer (Again)

During the Apollo Program, NASA’s Phil Shaffer had subjected me to what I’d describe today as a version of “Shark Tank”. I wasn’t looking forward to presenting to him again on Shuttle.

Space Shuttle First Flights: Ten Pounds in a Five Pound Sack

The first version of the Shuttle flight software had two serious problems: it couldn’t fit in the computer, and it ran way too slow. IBM was two years into the contract and basically nothing worked. All hell broke loose.

Space Shuttle First Flights: “Fly-by-Wire”

During high speed atmospheric flight, the extreme forces buffeting the Space Shuttle produced abrupt, violent oscillations that, left unattended, would cause it to spiral out of control. No human was capable of flying the Shuttle unassisted.

Space Shuttle First Flights: Onboard Computers (Shuttle vs. Apollo)

The Space Shuttle's onboard computer system alone weighed more than the entire Apollo Command Module.