Shuttle Astronaut Mike Mullane has some thoughts about the IBM team who built the Shuttle onboard flight software.
I had visions of the Space Shuttle Enterprise getting jostled during separation and colliding with the 747’s vertical stabilizer – which would definitely make for a bad day all around.
NASA’s John Aaron set high standards for IBM, and Space Shuttle onboard software came closer to “error-free” than any large, complex software ever built.
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.
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.
By comparison to the Space Shuttle, Apollo was a Model-T Ford – no set of computer-controlled spaceship operations like this had ever been attempted. Nothing that got us to the Moon could be reused here, and so it was discarded.