This Is How NASA Engineers Did Calculations Before Computers Were Invented


Let’s take a trip back to 1961 – the year when NASA sent a man to the moon. This is the year when electronic calculators had not been invented yet and that resulted in engineers carrying out complex calculations on huge chalkboards. Yes, chalkboards. Massive chalkboards were ordered in NASA headquarters where engineers used ladders to write in the highest places and carry out the required calculations.

These photos were likely stages for LIFE magazine back in 1961, however they surely do convey just what was the work-scale required for working out the important and crucial engineering equations.

Once all of the physics was worked out, each line of code that was required for controlling the shuttle was loaded onto a computer that featured a memory of 64Kb and operated at a speed of 0.043 MHz. That is 0.000064 GB of storage. Still need a perspective? Compare it with the storage you have on your smartphone.