Further Teardown of the Saturn V Flight Computer

Depotting LVDC Components

[Fran] has been working on tearing down and reverse engineering the Saturn V Launch Vehicle Digital Computer (LVDC). In her finale, she’s succeeded in depotting the legacy components while keeping them intact.

She accomplished this by carefully removing the silicone compound using a gum brush. This was a laborious process, but it allowed her to see the device’s innards. With this knowledge, she could recreate the logic modules on a breadboard.

[Fran]’s work on the LVDC has been very interesting. It began with a look at the PCB, followed by an x-ray analysis. Next up was a three part series of the teardown. With each part is a detailed video on the progress.

While this is the end of [Fran]’s work on the project, she will be handing off the LVDC hardware to another engineer to continue the analysis. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes out of this continued research.

23 thoughts on “Further Teardown of the Saturn V Flight Computer

  1. wow the guys in the 60s went trough alot of work to fake a moon landing ;-)
    just kidding.
    Fran you are doing an awsome job there. I wish a had some Apollo or even better some Gemini Hardware to “play” with.

    1. “wow the guys in the 60s went trough alot of work to fake a moon landing ;-)”

      Yeah and they’re even letting the Chinese use the studio over at Area 51 to fake their lunar rover landing now.

      (c:

      1. Although the conspiracy theorists claim NASA did rocket to the moon, but the whole thing was done with remote controlled robots instead of people because they never figured out how to get people there and back alive.

        So that covers all the tracks on the surface, the landers and blast marks etc. visible on later photos taken of the moon surface, and retroreflectors and radar images that prove they’re actually there. Even the moon rocks could have been picked up by robots, and the radio conversation between earth and moon faked by bouncing a pre-recorded signal back. Only the photos and videos with people in them are supposed to be fake to show off to the Soviets.

        1. That’s a bit of a “god of the gaps” retreat. Used to be, proper conspiracy nuts doubted the whole thing. If they’re retreating back to that level it becomes more like pedantry than conspiracy theory.

        2. Oh yeah! Robots! Because the robots we use NOW are just about fit for the job…

          Doing this with “remote controlled robots” would be even more impressive than sending people up…

          jeez…

        3. How dare you claim such heretic things. No matter what the people say, Earth is flat and Sun and planets revolve around it and nobody has ever left the Earth atmosphere.

  2. They didn’t document the systems? I don’t understand why so much work is needed to reverse everything… One would hope that all the design specs, plans and layouts etc are all locked away safely…
    Or not.
    Amazing work to reverse it all, good to see such a big part of our history will be preserved. Or are they just doing it to sell to the Chinese for their one?

      1. You mean the one somewhere on Area-51? That’s where the NSA is hiding our phone records. Not the records about what was used to build the special hardware that took us to and around the Moon.

      1. Actually no. Most of the documentation is indeed still available. And there’s one specific repository for the PDF files that they became. And as it happens the others are available on an unrelated site that discusses simulating the hardware that followed Alice.

  3. This is a totally worthwhile endeavor tearing apart a tiny piece of a huge rocket that hasn’t been useful since the 1970s wherein all the technology has been obsolete for over 40 years… But who cares right? This is all soooooooooooooooooooooooooooo interesting even though you could probably find all the documentation on this junk, or find related data from similar parts of the era. But i’m sure the chips were all made exactly for this application from scratch just for this purpose and never used before or since and it’s soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo important that someone needs to waste years of her life to dredge it all back up because it will probably most likey cure aids or cancer or something……..

    1. Wow I didn’t know Fran was doing cancer research…

      So aside from (apparent) trolling, what is your point? People shouldn’t have hobbies? People shouldn’t do original research? We shouldn’t care about our past? We should all tailor our interests around you?

      Are we having fun the wrong way again?

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