Apollo Lunar Module
The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) is the spidery-looking landing vehicle on the moon. It was built for the US Apollo program to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back.
History[change | edit source]
The LM was the last of the Apollo “hardware” to be developed. Its start had been delayed while NASA made up its mind to take the lunar-orbit meeting approach and thus require a vehicle like the LM for a landing. So a contract as the prime builder was not signed until January, 1963, almost two years after the Apollo project began. The LM go through several test in space. Finally the fist manned lunar landing occurred on July 20, 1969 with Apollo 11 LM Eagle. And as Apollo mission had progressed, Apollo 12,14,15,16,17 had a lunar landing using LM module. Unfortunately only Apollo 13 had an accident which is explosion from mixing process oxygen and fuel tank. The Apollo 13 Lunar module, it was called "aquarius", played an unexpected role in saving the lives of the three astronauts after the explosion.
Specifications[change | edit source]
The LM was consisted of an ascent stage and decent stage.
Descent stage[change | edit source]
This was the unmanned lower part of the LM. it looked like octagonal-shaped and Made of aluminum compound metal with four legs for landing contained the batteries and oxygen tank and scientific equipment to be used for the descent to the moon and astronauts’ stay on the moon.
On the lunar-landing mission, the descent engine would be fired to begin the LM’s drop from 70 miles out in lunar orbit down toward the moon and LM could descend vertically and hover above the surface of moon. After the two men finished their stay on the surface, the descent stage would serve as the launching base for the ascent engine’s firing to boost the upper half of the LM off the moon.
Ascent stage[change | edit source]
This was the roundish upper half of the LM, the command center and crew cabin as well as the launching rocket for leaving the moon.
To save weight, there were no seats for the men. They would stand, loosely held in place by straps. In front and on either side of them were the control panels for the LM’s guidance, communication, environment and propulsion systems. And on the left side, there was a window which commander could look to steer the LM. Overhead in the middle section was the 33-inch-diameter hatch where the astronauts transferred to and from the Command Module when two vehicles were linked. LM’s ascent rocket to meet Command Module is below the deck of the midsection. Although ascent rocket is a small, it was sufficient because moon’s weak gravity – one-sixth that of earth’s – meant that the LM wild not require a great burst of pushing energy to pull away from the lunar surface.
First flight of Lunar Module[change | edit source]
On Monday, January 22, 1968, a 16-ton unmanned LM surrounded by a protective shield stood on top of a two-stage Saturn 1-B rocket which called Apollo 5. It had two big missions for this flight. One is to check separating stage from main rocket. Another was to check test firing of the descent engine. But second mission didn’t success fully. The Apollo 5 test ended after eight hours, and the LM remained in earth orbit. It eventually dropped into the atmosphere and burn up.