Ep 5

Avionics: Then and Now

Part 1

Mark kicks off a two-part series as we take a look between the rocket computers and electronics of the past and today. The first part takes us back to the 60s and the days of Apollo as he talks with CuriousMarc, Mike Stewart, Carl Claunch, and Ken Shirriff, who took part in restoring an Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC).

In this episode

Mark Paral

Mark is a sophomore in Aeronautics and Astronautics and is a part of the Avionics team for PSP Solids.

Mike Stewart

Mike worked with CuriousMarc to restore the Apollo Guidance Computer and developed a Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) for the AGC. Stewart currently works at Capella Space as a Flight Software Engineer.

Carl Claunch

Carl is a retired engineer and volunteers at the Vintage Computer Museum in Mountain View, CA along with the rest of the AGC restoration team. Claunch builtĀ a replica of the original display and keyboard box for the Apollo Guidance Computer.

Ken Shirriff

Ken is a blogger interested in computer history and reverse engineering old computer chips. He was a part of the AGC restoration team and has previously restored a Xerox Alto, the first computer conceived with a graphical user interface (GUI).


Marc Verdiell (known on YouTube as CuriousMarc) is the CTO of Samtec Inc., a computer equipment manufacturing company. He spends his free time restoring vintage tech, including the Apollo Guidance Computer, and documents his restorations and fun work on his YouTube channel.

Production Health and Safety

Every precaution was taken for the protection of the hosts and crew. MRF podcast episodes are produced in accordance to the Protect Purdue Plan as well as local and federal social distancing guidelines. Only the host and crew were present in a room, and those in the room followed social distancing guidelines and wear face coverings, with the exception of the host during recording.