Book: Rocket Ship Galileo by Robert A. Heinlein
The story started out slow, even boring, since teenage-boy-rocket-stuff is not my thing. But the second half was truly action packed with a surprise around every corner.
The fun really starts when the boys and the doctor get into the rocket and fly to the moon.
After initially steering the rocket in the general direction of the moon, the doctor lets “Joe the Robot” correct his course, steering toward where the moon will be, not where it was then.
This robot pilot is part of the computer, not an actual object, mind you.
“He turned full control over to Joe, the robot pilot. That mindless mechanical-and-electronic worthy figuratively shook his non-existent head and decided he did not like the course. The image of the moon swung ‘down’ and toward the bow, in terms of the ordinary directions in the ship, until the rocket was headed in a direction nearly forty degrees further east than was the image of the moon.”
(Interesting that he used the word “worthy” as a noun. According to dictionary.com a worthy is a person of eminent worth, merit, or position.)
A little more about Joe:
“Joe had not been invented by Cargraves [the main character]. Thousands of scientists, engineers and mathematicians had contributed to his existence. His grandfathers had guided the Nazi V-2 rockets in the horror-haunted last days of World War II. His fathers had been developed for the deadly, ocean-spanning guided-missiles of the UN world police force. His brothers and sisters were found in every rocket ship, private and commercial, passenger-carrying or unmanned, that cleft the skies of earth.”