In August 1961, the MIT Instrument Laboratory was awarded the contract for a guidance system to fly men to the moon, the first contract for the entire Apollo Program. The word software was not mentioned anywhere. Six years later, 400 engineers were employed on the project writing software.
The resulting Apollo Guidance Computer is to this day a marvel of engineering. It included a realtime operating system and even a software interpreter. Despite weighing 70 pounds, it ran on only 50W of power. Only one guidance computer was present in each Apollo spacecraft, with no backups: it never failed in thousands of hours of space flight. Before the first work on UNIX or the C programming language had begun, the Apollo Guidance Computer had already taken men to the moon.
NASA and MIT kept meticulous records, giving us the opportunity to look back today on some of the pioneers of our industry, relive their experiences, and maybe learn a few things ourselves.