The year was 1969. “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies played on the radio. Nixon was in the White House. And three days of peace, love, and groovy music in upstate New York became the seminal event in the decade’s counterculture movement. But it was putting a man on the moon (twice) that definitively marked the year and captured the world’s attention.
Fifty years ago on November 14, less than four months after the world watched the first man walk on the moon, NASA’s Apollo 12 launched the last lunar mission of that historic year. From the early days of the Space Race, HP technology helped power NASA missions. It began in 1957 with the HP560A digital recorder, which converted counter readings directly to printed and analog form. In the 1960s, after John F. Kennedy implored and inspired his countrymen and fellow Earthlings to lift their eyes to the stars (and beat Soviet Russia to the moon), NASA used HP hot carrier diodes, relatively new metal-semiconductor technology at the time, throughout its operations. When Armstrong and Aldrin walked on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, their communication systems carried these diodes and HP tech along with them. At the time, Al Wilson, quality assurance manager of HP Associates, wrote to his colleagues: “As you follow the progress of Apollo 11 on its historic flight to the moon, you can be proud that HPA has helped make it possible.”