Perched on the top of a mighty Saturn 5 rocket the Apollo Lunar Module was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to achieve the transit from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon and back.
The module was also known as the LM from the manufacturer designation (often pronounced "lem," from NASA’s early name for it, Lunar Excursion Module).
The module was designed to carry a crew of two and rested on four landing legs. It consisted of two stages, the descent stage and the ascent stage. The total mass of the module was 15.2 tonne (15,264 kg) , with the majority 10.3 tonne (10,334 kg) in the descent stage.
The Apollo Lunar Module was designed after NASA chose to reach the moon via lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR) instead of by direct ascent or Earth orbit rendezvous (EOR). Both direct ascent and EOR would have involved the entire Apollo spacecraft landing on the moon. Once the decision had been made to proceed using LOR, it became necessary to produce a separate craft capable of reaching the lunar surface and ascending back to lunar orbit.
The initial design had the LEM with three landing legs. As any particular leg would have to carry the weight of the vehicle if it lands at any significant angle, three legs was the lightest configuration. However, it would be the least stable if one of the legs were damaged during landing. The next landing gear design consideration had five legs and was the most stable configuration for landing on an unknown terrain. That configuration, however, was too heavy and the designers compromised on four landing legs.
See how the Lunar Program developed and how the landings took place at the Vision 20/20 hosted evening, “When the Moon got trod on!”, at the Roxy Theatre, Bingara on Saturday, July 18, commencing with the Movie “In the Shadow of the Moon” at 6:00pm.
For tickets, and more information contact the Bingara Tourist Information Centre on 6724 0066.
Submitted by Rick Hutton
President Vision 2020
Ph: 0428 255 380.