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A Short History of the Apollo Lunar Module

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Thirty five years have elapsed since Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation undertook the responsibility of designing, developing, and manufacturing the Apollo Lunar Module for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

In 1958, after many years as a producer of aircraft for the United States Navy, Grumman began studies on manned space flight programs. In mid-1962, thoroughly convinced that Lunar Orbital Rendezvous (LOR) was the best method to effect a lunar landing, Grumman launched a feasibility study on LOR. NASA then asked for proposals involving use of the LOR concept and the Lunar Excursion Module. Grumman submitted its proposal in September 1962, with RCA as principal subcontractor. NASA officials stated- "at this time more than a million man-hours had gone into studies of how to get men to the moon and back".

On November 7, 1962, NASA issued the following news release: "Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, New York, today was selected to build Project Apollo Lunar Excursion Module -- a spacecraft in which Americans will land on the moon and return to a moon orbiting mother craft for the journey back to earth".

The NASA release went on to say, "LEM will look something like the cab of a two-man helicopter, measuring 10 feet in diameter and standing about 15 feet tall on its skid-type legs". (It ultimately measured 31 feet in diameter and stood 23 feet tall). NASA dropped the "E" (for "Excursion") in LEM in 1967.

The design evolution of the LM
The Five legged 1962 model of the then named
Lunar Excursion Module
This is what it looked like in 1963
By 1965 the docking port was moved to the top of the LM and it now had a square egress hatch
This is the final design


Lunar Module SpaceCraft Assembly & Test - original photos and text by Frank A Pullo 1997 FAP Systems Group All rights reserved.
Reposted with new material by Eric Hartwell licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License
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