Hide 2016 change notes?
  • The Luminary and Colossus pages now have a marvelous table (taken from document R-700, vol. 3) giving lots and lots of versioning information about various AGC programs, which I had previously just been inferring from textual descriptions in other documents.  Unfortunately, it basically only covers the timespan of Apollo 5-14, but that's not bad!
  • Refer to the notes on the Luminary page for an explanation of the "almost!" in the announcement below:
The scans of the Luminary 069 (Apollo 10 LM ... almost!) assembly listing are now available online (smaller images, lower quality), as well as at archive.org (much larger images, higher quality).
  • All of the Virtual AGC build-from-source methods on the downloads page (except the Mac OS X platform, whose instructions aren't entirely working yet) now create a launcher icon for Virtual AGC on the Desktop.
  • In the Document Library, a couple of volumes of R-700, MIT's Role in Project Apollo, have been added:  A 2nd copy of volume 3 (the one we already had being somewhat distorted by the OCR process, and the 2nd undistorted but somewhat lighter and lower-contrast), and volume 2, concerning optical and other subsystems.
  • For Luminary 210 (Apollo 15-17) AGC assembly-listing scanned imagery:
  • There are now workable Solaris build-instructions on the download page.
  • Build-instructions for some platforms (Linux, FreeBSD) now build a desktop icon for Virtual AGC, which makes it easier to run once it's built.
  • On the Colossus page, I made some corrections to the info about the GSOP for the Skylark program (Apollo-Skylab and Apollo-Soyuz CM).  Specifically, I realized that sections 1 and 2 from the Colossus 3 (Apollo 15-17) GSOP were simply republished unchanged as part of the Skylark GSOP, and thus we actually have 3 of the 7 sections of the Skylark GSOP, rather than just 2 of the sections as I had previously believed.
  • The instructions for building Virtual AGC on FreeBSD now work, with the latest software updates in GitHub.
  • The principal Virtual AGC download method, for anybody who doesn't want to build it from source, and is using 'x86 Linux, Windows, Mac OS X, FreeBSD, or Solaris, is now a VirtualBox based Virtual Machine that you can download from the downloads page.  The VM is tailored for running the simulations and doing visual debugging of AGC code.  Though a large download, this is a very easy way to run Virtual AGC.
  • I have been going through the installation/build instructions on the download page, and updating them, since many of them are nearly a decade out-of-date.  The old instructions are still preserved as a link to a separate page.  However, the executive summary is that as of right now, it's really, really hard to build Virtual AGC on Mac OS X, Solaris, and FreeBSD, and in fact we no longer know how to do it. (But Windows and Linux are still okay, though for Windows you do need all of the latest fixes in the GitHub repository for it to work!)
  • As a result of the two items above, the download page has essentially been completely rewritten, from beginning to end.
  • Finally, most-importantly,
The scans of the Luminary 210 (Apollo 15-17 LM) assembly listing are now available online (smaller images, lower quality), as well as at archive.org (much larger images, higher quality).
  • In the GitHub repository, the "block1" branch, in which the Block I AGC and DSKY simulators were being developed, has been merged into the master branch, and therefore is now obsolete.
  • Also in GitHub, the VirtualAGC GUI has been updated, and is now able to run Solarium 55, Aurora 12, and Sunburst 120 simulations, rather than forcing you to run them from the command line.  The Solarium 55 simulation is Block I, and therefore uses the Block I AGC simulator and DSKY simulator (in either its control-panel or nav-bay versions).
  • The AGC source-code (and associated syntax-highlighted assembly listings) have been refined so that "modern" program comments are prefixed with "##", while the original program comments continue to be prefixed merely by "#".  Thus, it is easier to tell at a glance which comments are original and which are not ... barring errors on our part, of course!
  • The assembler (yaYUL) source code at GitHub has had various bugs fixed which weren't apparent until Sunburst 120 source code was assembled.
  • And most importantly:
The full Sunburst 120 (Apollo 5) source code is now available online, as well as the colorized, syntax-highlighted form of the source code.

In other words, not only is the Sunburst 120 source code now available, but the assembler can assemble it without error, and the executable rope will be word-for-word identical to the known-good memory rope.  Building from source now assembles Sunburst 120 in addition to all of the other available AGC versions, though it continues to be the case that it is not integrated into the VirtualAGC GUI program, and can only be assembled or run in the simulator from the command line.

  • Many of the colorized, syntax-highlighted AGC program listings have been massaged a bit so that their page-number markings (formerly just program comments) now stand out a bit more.  Hopefully this has had no side-effects.
  • The AGC assembler, yaYUL, has now been updated for AURORA 12's "BLK2" software architecture.  (The yaYUL documentation had previously been updated, but not the program itself.)
  • Finally, and most-importantly,
The full Aurora 12 source code is now available online, as well as the colorized, syntax-highlighted form of the source code.

In other words, not only is the Aurora 12 source code now available, but the assembler can assemble it without error, and get the identical executable rope mentioned in the prior update.
  • Some recent administrative changes at our GitHub repo have broken the old website name "https://rburkey2005.github.io/virtualagc", which has instead become https://virtualagc.github.io/virtualagc.  I've fixed the now-broken links.
  • More importantly,
The Aurora 12 executable rope is now available online.
The Sunburst 120 executable rope is now available online.

Of course, I announced the AURORA 12 rope nearly a month ago, but for some curious reason failed to emphasize it as I normally do for new AGC versions, so I'm doing that now.  In fact SUNBURST 120 has been available for a few days as well, though I forgot to update this change-log. In both cases, you still have to explicitly build the rope from the corresponding "binsource" file — "oct2bin <Sunburst120.binsource" or "oct2bin <Aurora12.binsource" — (with the rope being oct2bin.bin afterward), but you can do that and run either or both in yaAGC if you're of a mind to do so.  In both cases, the source-code transcription is making progress, but isn't yet ready, so this is the only option if you want to run one of these programs right now rather than waiting for full availability.
Lots of updates throughout the website, as I review pages I haven't looked at in a while.  Mostly these are minor updates, though I marvel at some of the oversights, such as:  Not mentioning any of the Gemini developers who helped me so much in the acknowledgements section of the main page?  Really?  How dumb it that?
  • The documentation of yaYUL invocation has been updated to cover the --blk2, --format, and --syntax command-line switches, as well as to explain the differences between the AGC systems targeted by the assembler, namely the AGC4, BLK2, and AGC targets.
  • The page describing HTML annotations to syntax-highlighted AGC code listings (created using the yaYUL --format switch) has been modified to describe certain exceptions to the way --format processes AGC source-code lines beginning with "##" in column 1, and to recommend that all modern comments added to AGC source code (as opposed to comments present in the original source code) should begin with "##" rather than "#".
On the yaYUL page, in the discussion about the original YUL program, pointed out that the original YUL was not written in the Honeywell 800's ARGUS language, though it was a Honeywell 800 program, and described the background for that.
The various syntax-highlighted, hyperlinked AGC program listings (Artemis072, Comanche055, etc.) have all been updated with respect to the current versions of their corresponding AGC source files, but the principal change is that the symbol tables appearing at the ends of the top-level files for these program listings are now hyperlinked.  In other words, if you click on a link in one of these symbol tables, it takes you directly to the point where that symbol is defined.  This is a big help, I think, because previously you actually had to know which file the symbol was defined in, and now you do not.
  • As mentioned a few days ago, we have the complete rope contents for AURORA 12 in a form that can be executed on the yaAGC simulator, though the source-code transcriptions are not yet complete.  You may recall that AURORA 12 is special, because it is that last AGC code to contain a complete test suite.  Mike Stewart has been using this to ring out lingering bugs in yaAGC (as well as in his own hardware-based AGC simulator), and has indeed found some problems with boundary cases in the DV instruction, and perhaps some not-so-boudary-case problems elsewhere (such as the lack of a hardware "night watchman" mechanism), and has fixed them all in yaYUL.  Thanks also to Niklas Beug for faithfully testing these in NASSP, to insure that they don't cause problems there, or perhaps make stuff better that seemed to be working before.  Thus, yaYUL (and I think, Mike's sim) now pass the AURORA test suite.  (Of course, there are aspects of the test suite that aren't CPU-specific, I believe, such as IMU tests, and I don't claim that those pass.)  At any rate, Mike has also updated the description of Block II assembly language to describe the various boundary-case behaviors of the instruction set.
  • I've added a "bonus offer" to the sponsorship request I mentioned yesterday.
The main page now begins with a special help offer — i.e., an offer for a way you can help us, and that's about as special as things can get! — which is explained fully on the volunteering page.
An experimental pseudo-op, SECSIZ, has been added to the yaYUL AGC assembler.  This optional pseudo-op may be useful during the process of transcribing hardcopies or scans of AGC program listings into ASCII source-code form.
  • Lately I've been keeping all website changes at the GitHub version of the website, and not pushing them to the (main) ibiblio version of the website, because ibiblio overrides the character-set encoding; thus, some of the characters (like '—', 'μ', '±', etc.) were messed up on the ibiblio version but not on the GitHub version. I finally figured out how to override ibiblio's override, so I should be able to start pushing changes to ibiblio.org/apollo again.
  • I've added a short section to the LVDC page describing the interaction of the AGC with the Saturn rocket.  The highlight is a nice video created by Riley Rainey which you might enjoy watching.
  • The hopefully fully-correct Aurora 12 rope is now available at our GitHub repo, though the transcribed source code for Aurora isn't yet available, so at least theoretically you can run Aurora in the AGC simulator.  However, that would have to be done from yaAGC's command line, since Aurora 12 capability has not yet been integrated into the VirtualAGC GUI program.
  • Niklas Beug has been developing a new feature for us, which is found in the "scenarios" branch of our GitHub repository.  What these scenarios are "core dumps" — exact copies of the AGC's "erasable memory" — with the appropriate pad loads and setups for running simulations of various mission scenarios. These core dumps are accompanied by nice writeups of what they are and how to use them. By loading the core dump into the AGC simulator, you're all set to go with the corresponding scenario!  At the moment, there are only 4 scenarios, namely the Apollo 9, 11, and 15 launch scenarios and the Apollo 7 rendezvous scenario (and yes, that's a real thing!), but presumably the number will grow.  Eventually, this feature will be integrated into the VirtualAGC GUI program, but for now it's command-line only.  Also, the setups come from NASSP, so you may find it more fulfilling to use them with NASSP then with "pure" Virtual AGC.
  • Continued fleshing-out of the Block 1 page, especially the instruction set, though there is some improved imagery as well.
  • More importantly:  The two missing page scans (622 and 623) from Aurora 12 are now available, and Aurora 12 is "up" again on archive.org.
  • Still more importantly:
Sunburst 120 (Apollo 5 AGC program) page images are now online.

The program listing does have some issues, but nothing that we won't be able to work around. As usual lately, reduced-quality but faster-to-load images are hosted here, while the original-resolution but slow-to-load images are hosted at archive.org. Be aware that the archive.org images may not be stable for the next week or two, as their quality-control system works to fix whatever problems (that they can) with the scans.  The imagery here will continue to be available regardless.
  • Niklas Beug has sent us a link to a YouTube video of a NASSP/Orbiter (which integrates Virtual AGC) simulated Apollo 11 lunar landing, which I couldn't resist putting an embedded link to on the main page.  There's also a matching lunar ascent video on his YouTube channel (look for Indianajones91), though I didn't link it explicitly.
  • I've been asked where the Aurora 12 scans that are supposed to be at archive.org are?  They had to be taken down temporarily (although "temporarily" has stretched into a week, and hasn't ended yet) to add a couple of missing pages and to reshoot a few pages which are out of focus.  Sorry about that, but it's out of my hands!  They'll return presently, I'm sure.
  • Updated Mike Stewart's analysis of the missing modules in Block 2 schematics slightly.
  • Began adding detailed description of the instruction set to the Block 2 page.
Some big news for today is that

The long-awaited scans of the original YUL assembler have finally arrived!

At least, they were long-awaited for me, because until today I saw them for the first and last time almost 12 years ago to the day, and that's why there's no hair left on my head.  (That's my theory, anyway.)

But also, on a separate note, it has slowly dawned on me that I don't have AGC electrical schematics on our document-library page.  I thought I did, but I don't!  (No wonder I can never find them.)  The Block II schematics, as contributed by Eldon Hall, have been on the klabs.org site for many years, but since NASA no longer funds it, that site is unfortunately now essentially a zombie and one wonders how much longer it will persist.  So as of today, I'm now mirroring all relevant AGC material from that site here, in our document library.  The highlights of the additions are:
  • Block II AGC schematics.
  • LM interface-control data (interface wiring and related data) from Grumman.
  • Videos and/or texts of talks by AGC developers Hugh Blair-Smith, Ray Alonso, and Eldon Hall (as well as Frank O'Brien, Cline Frasier, and Jose Portillo Lugo) at the MAPLD '04 conference.
  • Various new documents or cleaner versions of ones we already have, most-notably perhaps, an Apollo 16 Delco manual to supplement the existing A15 Delco manual, and a clean replacement for the mutilated-but-indispensable (if you're doing Block I work) R-393.

It also seems that there may be a perception on the part of the AGC modeling community, if there is such a thing, that the available Block II AGC schematics are so incomplete that constructing a hardware Block II AGC sim is impossible.  (That's why, I've been told, everyone continues to do Block I sims.)  Well, Mike Stewart has certainly made a Block II sim that's good enough to help him track down and fix bugs in our own software sim, so while the Block II schematics may not be perfect, they are certainly not so incomplete as to prevent using them for this kind of project.  And here are Mike's links to prove it:

As it happens, Mike has given me his evaluation of the completeness/incompleteness of the Block II AGC schematics, and I provide that assessment in the document library as well, for anyone interested in this kind of thing.
The nav-bay version of the Block 1 DSKY simulation is now available at GitHub, and the descriptions on the Block 1 page have been altered accordingly, as well as adding screenshots of the nav-bay DSKY to the Solarium demo on that page.
  • Ongoing work at our GitHub repository:
    • Onno Hommes continues to improve GUI debugging of Block 2 AGC software.
    • Mike Stewart continues to extinguish lingering bugs in the Block 2 AGC simulator.  As you may know, the NASSP add-on for the Orbiter spacecraft simulator has incorporated our AGC simulator for many years. Until the last year or so, they have been using it just for the Command Module (apparently without difficulties), but have lately begun trying to do lunar landings with it and have been prevented due to the alarms and other problems caused by the AGC simulator.  However, with the latest fixes, I'm told that they are indeed able to accomplish a lunar landing without alarms.  Great job, Mike and the NASSP folks (thanks, Niklas Beug) who have been working on this!
    • The Block 1 AGC and DSKY simulators, running Solarium 055, are now essentially working ... which I mentioned in the last update, but I've been fixing some fundamental problems with it in the meantime, so I'm a bit more confident in my statements.
  • And the bigger news:
Aurora 12 page images are now online.

Aurora what?  Aurora is a very early version of the Luminary program, prior to any manned missions, prior to any unmanned ones ... though not quite the earliest one, which is called Retread.  We will soon be engaged in the process of turning Aurora into source code, assembling it, running it on the simulator, etc., which is a process that takes a considerable amount of time.  Read more about it on our Luminary page.  Or contact us directly if you would like to help out in the process of converting Aurora page images to source code!
  • Hugh Blair-Smith's notes on "Block III" have been updated once again, this time with an improved interpreter.
  • The Block I page has been considerably expanded, because of the next item.
  • The Block I CPU simulator, DSKY simulator, and digital uplink simulator are new working, in a provisional sense.  What that means is that while you have to download the source code from the "block1" branch of our GitHub repository yourself, that you have to compile the code yourself, that you have to run it from the command line (as opposed to from the fancy VirtualAGC GUI), and that the CPU simulator still has many bugs, and that only one of the two different DSKY configurations has been simulated so far, nevetheless, you can in fact run Solarium 055 on the simulated CPU and interact with it via the simulated DSKY, or through the simulated digital uplink, using with some of the sample verbs and nouns shown in a new section on the Block I page.  Whew!  Now, that was a sentence that took my breath away!
  • A document supporting Block 1, E-1574, which I had somehow missed before, has been added to the document library.
  • I've been doing a lot of reworking of the descriptive material on the Block 1 AGC and DSKY.  The page formerly intended to be cover Block 1 assembly language has now been reorganized as a page for "all things Block 1".  I think this is important now that there is valid Block 1 code (Solarium), a Block 1  assembler, prospects for eventually obtaining the Block 1 Corona core rope, and so on, and so have been moving Block 1 material from other pages (like the yaYUL page) onto the Block 1 page.  There is much more to come along those lines in future days.
  • There is now a Block 1 simulator at our GitHub repository, based on John Pultorak's design, and there's a lot more discussion of that on the Block 1 page and the Physical Implementations page than previously.  I don't claim that it works very well for the purpose of supplementing the Block 2 simulation at the present time, but it's something as opposed to nothing ... which is something.
  • At least for a temporary trial, our web-pages at ibiblio.org are mirrored to github.  There's more explanation at the top of the FAQ page, if you're interested.
  • Fixed a number of broken hyperlinks and incorrect character encodings on the web-pages.
Well, this has been an interesting day.  I expected to have one significant announcement today, and instead have two of them.  First,

The Apollo 6 CM AGC Block 1 code is now fully available in source and binary form, as well as syntax-highlighted, colorized form, and the assembler (yaYUL) has been updated to assemble Block 1 source code.

It is, unfortunately, unclear if the code can ever be run in the AGC simulator or not, but I'll think about it for a while before saying "no".

Second, and perhaps more importantly even though I haven't chosen to color it red, I was wrong in one very significant way about Francois Rautenbach's extractions of the rope-memory contents, and that is that it was not from Apollo 6 (Solarium 055) as I said, but rather is the Corona program from the AS-202 ("Apollo 3") mission, which we do not have already, and have no other prospects for acquiring.  Moreover, it is simply in the form of stored electrical waveforms rather than a file of numbers representing the values stored at various memory locations.  But perhaps it could be converted, and perhaps the Corona binary can be reverse-engineered back into the form of source code, which we will do if at all possible and present it here.  So stay tuned.
  • A YouTube link to Francois Rautenbach's video of himself extracting the rope memory contents from the actual, physical Apollo 6 AGC (namely the binary for the program Solarium 055) has been added to on our Colossus page, under the Solarium 055 entry, naturally.  Of course, as I mentioned a couple of days ago, the full binary (derived from the assembly listing rather than from the physical ropes) is available at our GitHub repository.  It would be interesting to compare the contents of the two sometime, and if that happens, I'll let you know the results.
  • Began adding a Block 1 language manual, to complement the existing Block 2 language manual.  It's not very useful as of yet.
  • The assembly language manual description of the CPU's L register has been changed slightly to reflect an updated understanding of its behavior, and the changes in the yaAGC simulated CPU's treatment of it which have lately been committed to our GitHub repository.  (Thanks to Mike Stewart.)
  • Because the tables of existing AGC software we have on the Colossus and Luminary pages have grown so huge and unwieldy, listing everything I've ever found out about every software version, I've added a very short summary table in front of each of them, listing simply the software versions we have in our possession right now.
The discussion of CPU utilization in the Raspberry Pi build instructions has been updated to include the Pi 3, which has a much-lower utilization than the Pi B+, which was the only model previously discussed.
A number of goofy hyperlinks fixed.
  • Found a reference which actually lists most of the software version codes up to Apollo 11 inclusive, and therefore made minor changes to the corresponding missions on the Luminary and Colossus pages.  Most-significantly, it said that Solarium 055 was for Apollo 6 and Solarium 054 was for Apollo 4, which means that I have been in error for the last 7 years in saying that Solarium 055 was for Apollo 4.  This has entailed numerous website changes (I don't guarantee I've caught all of them yet), as well as in the source code for Solarium 055 on GitHub (and again, I don't guarantee I got them all).
  • Status of Solarium055:  The Solarium055 was originally made available as page images in 2009, then as source-code files and independently-generated binary files in 2010.  However, proofing of the source-code files and of the binary were never completed at that time, though the binary was proofed to the extent that all checksums ("bugger words") were correct.  As of today, a completely-proofed binary, Solarium055.binsource, is in the GitHub repository; it is actually identical to the 2010 binary, in the sense no octal values needed to be corrected, but can now be regarded as "correct".  The next step is to add the capability of assembling Block I assembly-language source-code to yaYUL, but that has barely been started.
  • Descriptive material about the interpretation of card-column #1 in the original AGC assembly language, and the facilities provided by YUL or GAP for formatting the assembly listing, have been supplied by Hugh Blair-Smith.
  • This change log now has the ability to hide or view the notes from any given year.  The default is to view the current year, but hide all the others.  Opening or closing them is a javascript feature, so I guess if you don't have javascript enabled, you're out of luck viewing previous years.  On the other hand, both this feature and the Google Search bar updated yesterday are both completely self-contained (i.e., they don't load additional files of javascript), so it's a pretty safe feature!
  • A somewhat-whimsical description of the AGC software naming convention that was apparently edited out of Hugh Blair-Smith's book has been added to the "kindler, simpler introduction".
  • Added a description of the AURORA software to the Luminary page, because I'm starting to become optimistic that we might be able to actually get a copy of it, perhaps even in the near future.  But don't hold your breath.
  • Apparently, the custom search bar hasn't been working, perhaps in a long time!  Well, it does now, at least in Chrome and SeaMonkey.
  • Updated more out-of-date Google Code links to GitHub links.
  • Fixed various out-of-date projects for which help was requested on the volunteering page.
The Apollo 8 CM AGC code is now fully available in source and binary form, is provided by the development snapshot and installer programs, and can be run in the simulation using the VirtualAGC GUI.
  • (The Apollo 8 CM source code (Colossus 237) has been available on this site for a number of years, but only as page images, and was never fully proofed and corrected prior to now.) 
  • Bruno Muller has constructed a physical DSKY for yaAGC/NASSP, and I've added a link on the Physical Implementations page to the charming YouTube video he made of it.
The download page now has Raspberry Pi pre-built binaries on it, as well as installation instructions and build instructions for Raspberry Pi, contributed by Laszlo Morocz and Scott Sumner.  Thanks, Laszlo and Scott!
The download page has been updated so that it now provides not only the old Linux installer (which is known not to work with some newer Linux versions like Linux Mint 17.3 and Ubuntu 14.04), but also a newer installer, specifically built for Linux Mint 17.3, and therefore hopefully working for Ubuntu 14.04 or later as well.  Sadly, I'm not set up to test it as thoroughly as I used to be on every platform under the sun!  There are also updated build-instructions.  The code reflects corresponding updates to the GitHub repository.
Well ... anyone who has looked at this will notice that this website hasn't been updated in 4 years!  The updates today are more to see if I still can update the site after all this time, rather than anything substantive.  Perhaps more will follow.  I apologize to everyone who has sent me to-do's in the meantime.  They haven't been forgotten, merely neglected, if that's of any consolation to anybody.  Today's changes are simply:
  • Updates to the Gemini page which I made back in 2012 and never got around to posting.  Unfortunately, I no longer know quite how to summarize what those changes were.
  • On the download page, the Google Code source-code repository, which no longer exists except in archival form, has been replaced by our current GitHub repository.
  • On the FAQ page, Hugh Blair-Smith's book, Left Brains for the Right Stuff, now gets the well-deserved recommendation it should have had when Hugh brought the book to my attention before Christmas last year.  Sorry, Hugh!
  • There's also mention there now of Chris Garry's GitHub repository, which has been getting a lot of attention lately.

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