Blackboard with Apollo Guidance Computer Program P23

Thomas Knatt

Computer Programmer

Thomas Knatt came to MIT as a freshman, from rural western New York, one month after his 17th birthday, in 1957.  The Russians had just launched Sputnik, and the upperclassmen in the dormitory were calculating how much thrust was needed in the rocket to get it up there.  This inspired Knatt to learn how to figure it out. 

After graduating from MIT, with a degree in Science and Humanities, Knatt explored various jobs before landing a programming job at System Development Corporation (SDC) in 1966.  Knatt transferred to the Instrumentation Lab in 1967, assigned to code, debug and document the navigation program P23, which the astronauts used to correct spacecraft drift between the earth and the moon.  

After Apollo, Knatt returned to an early passion, stringed instrument making and teaching guitar. Knatt is also an avid racewalker and has competed in 2 Olympic Trials and in 6 international racewalking events for the United States.  Knatt resides in Groton, MA.