Don Eyles

Don Eyles worked on the Apollo project from 1966 to 1972, and on the NASA space program until 1998, as a computer scientist at the MIT Instrumentation Lab and the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

He created programs for the computer of the Apollo Lunar Module, responsible for the software that successfully guided the LM during the critical lunar landing phases of every Apollo mission that was able to attempt a landing. He worked with astronauts and NASA flight controllers to improve the software in response to the operational goals for each mission, and he received the NASA Public Service Award in 1971 for devising a timely workaround for a problem that jeopardized Alan Shepard's mission to the Moon.

After Apollo he helped develop several simulations of the Space Shuttle, and led the development of a Space Station simulation that explored the use of computer graphics aboard a manned spacecraft. For simulation purposes he developed a sequencing system called Timeliner, built around a language based on temporal constructs such as "when," "before" and "until." After further development Timeliner was chosen by NASA for use as the "user interface language" aboard the International Space Station, where it is in continuous operation.

Eyles is the author, besides technical papers, of stories and opinion pieces in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and other publications. He regularly lectures about the Apollo project for a course given at MIT. His book, titled "Sunburst and Luminary: an Apollo Memoir," will be released by Fort Point Press on March 1, 2018.

Since 1985 he has regularly exhibited his photographs, which include a long-term investigation of the Boston's Big Dig project. Since 1998 he has created a series of floating sculptures, based on the Platonic solids, principally appearing in the Fort Point Channel of Boston, of which the latest is currently on view. His personal web site is doneyles.com.

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