The detective work continues. Another blog comment:
I seem to recall that grooving the pavement on highways, for better traction, was an outgrowth of some of NASA’s research – on runways, which is possibly outside of Charlie’s parameters.
My father did the stress analysis of the cargo-bay arm on the shuttle launch pad with a hand-held calculator (HP-45) and pencil and paper (the younger engineers didn’t know where to start with it). That was in the 1970s (he retired in 1979). The company my sister works for did the aspherical glassware for the Hubble fix on computer-controlled equipment, in 1992 or 1993. That’s a big change right there.