Half a century ago, MIT played a critical role in the development of the flight software for NASA’s Apollo program, which landed humans on the moon for the first time in 1969. One of the many contributors to this effort was Margaret Hamilton, a computer scientist who led the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, which in 1961 contracted with NASA to develop the Apollo program’s guidance system. For her work during this period, Hamilton has been credited with popularizing the concept of software engineering.
In recent years, a striking photo of Hamilton and her team’s Apollo code has made the rounds on social media and in articles detailing her key contributions to Apollo 11's success. According to Hamilton, this now-iconic image (at left, above) was taken at MIT in 1969 by a staff photographer for the Instrumentation Laboratory — later named the Draper Laboratory and today an independent organization — for use in promotion of the lab’s work on the Apollo project