Charles Stark Draper was the leading figure behind the use of inertial navigation in aircraft, spacecraft, ballistic missiles, and submarines. This collection of memorabilia largely relates to Draper's career at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, his contributions to the military, and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Scope and Contents:
This collection of memorabilia consists of certificates, diplomas, citations, and awards bestowed upon Charles Stark Draper, as well as several photographs, and a photographic copy of a filed patent for a lead angle computer for gunsights. These materials relate to Draper's career at the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, his contributions to the military, and to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Also included are certificates awarded to him by the Arthur Murray Studio for his performances in dance.
The materials in this collection are arranged by type and chronologically. During processing, the various oversized materials have been placed in appropriately sized boxes. They are organized in each box by organization or institution granting the honor (citation, diploma, certificate) and then chronologically.
Biographical / Historical:
Charles Stark Draper was the leading figure behind the use of inertial navigation in aircraft, spacecraft, ballistic missiles, and submarines. He was born in Windsor, Missouri, in 1901. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Stanford University in 1922. He went on to earn a B.S. in electrochemical engineering and a Ph.D. in physics in 1938 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). One year later, Draper joined the faculty at MIT and helped establish the school's Instrumentation Laboratory. During the next thirty years, he performed research and directed the Instrumentation Laboratory, developing systems such as the gyroscopic shoebox gunsight that led to the derivative Mark 14 gunsight used by U.S. Navy shipboard antiaircraft weaponry in World War II. Draper also developed inertial guidance systems utilized in the Polaris, Poseidon, Trident I and II submarine launched missiles, as well as the Atlas and Titan launch vehicles. During the 1960s, he and the Laboratory created the inertial navigation system employed by the Moon-bound spacecraft of the Apollo program. In 1969, at the height of student protests over military contracts and university research, the politically conservative Draper was asked to step down from his position as director of the Instrumentation Laboratory. Four years after his departure, the Instrumentation Laboratory split away from MIT and formed the non-profit Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.
Draper served in the U.S. Air Corps Reserve from 1926 to 1942, resigning as a first lieutenant. Throughout his career, Draper was the recipient of numerous medals, awards, and distinctions, including the National Medal of Science and induction into the Inventor's Hall of Fame. He was also an avid amateur ballroom dancer. For years, he studied and trained with the Arthur Murray Studio. Draper died in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1987.
Charles Stark Draper, Gift to Astronautics Department, 1975
Space History Department, Transfer, 2001
No restrictions on access.
The Apollo Flight Guidance Computer Software Collection [Hamilton] consists of reports, memoranda, and related material documenting the Apollo flight guidance software developed by Margaret Hamilton's team at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The collection also includes Hamilton's 1986 handwritten notes on selected documents.
Scope and Contents:
This collection consists of reports, memoranda, and related material documenting the Apollo flight guidance software developed by Margaret Hamilton's team at the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Documents include a printout from an Apollo guidance computer software simulation; software program change routing slips; reports from Apollo Guidance, Navigation, and Control (formerly Apollo Guidance and Navigation); a preliminary flight plan for Apollo 7; memoranda for the submission of MIT/IL Software Development Plan, critiquing each new official version of the flight system; guidance system documents using assorted programs, including Sundisk, Skylark, and Luminary; and an oversized Charles Start Draper Laboratory brochure. When she donated the collection in 1986, Hamilton composed handwritten notes on the history of selected documents, which are included with each document and identified in the finding aid as "[Note from Margaret Hamilton]."
The materials are arranged chronologically.
Margaret H. Hamilton (b. 1936) was the Director of Software Engineering Division at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory (CSDL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was responsible for the onboard flight software for NASA's Apollo and Skylab missions. She became known as the "Rope Mother," an apt description for her role and referred to the unusual way that computer programs were stored on the Apollo guidance computers.
Hamilton received a BA in Mathematics from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, and postponed her Ph.D. work when she was offered the opportunity to work on the Apollo project. She has published over 130 papers and reports on her areas of expertise in system design and software development. In 1986, she became the founder and CEO of Hamilton Technologies, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. On November 22, 2016, President Barack Obama awarded Hamilton the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her contribution that led to Apollo 11's successful landing.
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California; the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation; and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.