It all started in 1960. It is all connected with the name Margaret Hamilton, a leading pioneer in the spacecraft and computer industries. Her story is worth acknowledging and celebrating especially by taking into consideration the period when it all happened.
Back in that day not many women were encouraged to seek out high-powered technical work. At only 24 years she got a job as a programmer at the prestigious MIT where she would also became the director and supervisor of software programming for Apollo and Skylab.
But how did she achieved all these? It all started when she took an interim position at MIT to develop a software for predicting weather. At that time, computer science and software engineering were not yet disciplines. Instead, programmers learned on the job with hands-on experience. This is what Hamilton also did. She learned as she developed different types of software.
Her insight and willingness to learn and innovate this field was put to test when she started working on the Apollo program. It is worth mentioning that the lunar landing was one of the first times that a software was ever trusted with such a critical mission. There was no precedent so Hamilton and her team had to advance as the situation advanced. Her work at the Apollo program became famous when she prevented important malfunctions as the world’s first chip-based computers was created. In short, the Apollo flights carried two machines, one that landed on the moon while the other was used to command the module that carried the astronauts. These computers were designed as portable computers and were one of the first ones to integrate circuits rather than transistors.
Hamilton soon became an expert in systems programming. Alongside with her team she changed notions of what humanity could do and achieve, not just on the ground, but also beyond the stratosphere. Her work did not stop at MIT, she founded her own company where she started working and leading multiple software companies.