During the Apollo program, checkout tests of launch vehicle and spacecraft systems were gradually being automated, moving away from the manual processes during the early years of the space program to (almost) fully automated tests by the time of Apollo 11.
One interesting problem NASA faced was how to make sure that the computer programmers (who wrote the checkout test computer programs) and the test and design engineers (who defined the checkout test procedures) understood each other:
In the evolution of automatic checkout equipment, one of the most interesting problems centered on the creation of a new language. The language tapes incorporated in the computer programs had to be functional for the designer of the vehicle as well as the test engineer. Readouts on malfunctions had to make sense to persons reworking the piece of hardware that failed or had not performed properly. [...]
Test engineers were putting new demands on the computers, and these new demands as well as the style of language had to be communicated to the programmer. To arrive at an appropriate language, either the test engineer had to learn more about programming, or the programmer had to learn more about test engineering. The solution to this dilemma was ATOLL, an acronym for Acceptance Test or Launch Language, designed to bridge many of the gaps between the test engineer, the designer of the stage, and the computer programmer. Originating in late 1963, ATOLL eased confusion and helped to normalize the many functions of automatic test and checkout encountered at the manufacturer's plant, during static firing, and during operations at the launch site.
(source: Stages to Saturn, chapter 8)
Given the important role ATOLL played in the success of the Saturns, I'm curious to know what it looked like, and how much "high level" it actually was. However, I'm unable to find any information on it. This is the Wikipedia article on ATOLL in its entirety:
Acceptance, Test Or Launch Language (ATOLL) was the programming language used for automating the checking and launch of Saturn rockets.
With one reference:
- "SLCC ATOLL User's Manual", IBM 70-F11-0001, Huntsville, Ala. Dec 1970
This report is not available on NTRS, and putting this reference into e.g. Google just yields and endless list of mirrors of Wikipedia (?).
GOAL is a high-level language that uses the terminology of test engineers to write tests and procedures to certify that a Shuttle vehicle is ready for launch. When the first automated preflight checkout programs were written in the mid-1960s, Marshall Space Flight Center originated ATOLL, a special high-level language for use in preparing test procedures. GOAL superseded that language in the early 1970s.
This appendix has a snippet of GOAL code and I'm guessing that GOAL resembles ATOLL, but that is no more than a hunch.
Question: what does ATOLL code look like? Are there listings or a reference manual available?