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The Woman Who Made the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Happen

The Woman Who Made the Apollo 11 Moon Landing Happen

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon and astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first human to set foot on it.

But did you know about the woman who made the Apollo 11 moon landing happen?

That woman is Margaret Hamilton, who, as part of the MIT team working with NASA, led the effort to build Apollo 11's on-board flight software.

There was no guarantee the software would work. According to TIME, just before the lunar landing was supposed to happen, alarms went off indicating that there wasn’t enough room on the computer for the landing software to work effectively.

A radar sending unnecessary data to the computer sounded the alarm. Hamilton helped enable the computer to figure out which of the multiple processes it had to do, which was the most important software fix. 

“It got rid of the lesser priority jobs and kept the higher priority jobs, which included the landing functions,” Hamilton told TIME.

According to TIME, Hamilton's software fix gave NASA the confidence to go ahead with the historic moon landing.

"I remember thinking, Oh my God, it worked," the pioneering software engineer told TIME. "I was so happy. But I was more happy about it working than about the fact that we landed."

NEXT: Celebrating More than 50 Years of Women in Space »

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Photo Credit: Associated Press