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<p>Project Mercury was the first U.S. venture to send a man into space. The project lasted 55 months, involved more than 2 million people, and cost more than $400 million. In retrospect, Project Mercury's real-time computer, programming, and data-processing aspects seem a minor element of the total project. Historical accounts of Project Mercury do not say much, if anything, about its computer-based activities. These computer-based activities include the real-time computing accomplishments of a team of about 100 scientists, programmers, and engineers that paved the way for future manned-space projects and gave the computer profession its first glimpse of a real-time computing system that was predicated on the safety requirements of a man-in-the-loop. This article describes the real-time computational requirements, the procedures, and the equipment that were developed to support this pioneering project, as well as some personal observations.</p>
Saul I. Gass, "Project Mercury's Man-in-Space Real-Time Computer System: "You Have a Go, at Least Seven Orbits"", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 21, no. , pp. 37-48, October-December 1999, doi:10.1109/85.801531
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