Lunar Excursion Module Simulator

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Center: Langley Research Center
Location: Hampton, Virginia
Year Built: 1965
Historic Eligibility: Eligible
Important Tests:

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[top] History

The Lunar Excursion Module Simulator (LEMS), designed and fabricated from 1963 to 1965 at Langley, was a manned rocket-powered vehicle used to familiarize the Apollo astronauts with the handling characteristics of a lunar-landing type vehicle. Suspended from cables from the Lunar Lander Research Facility, the LEMS allowed the astronauts to experience the lunar environment where gravity is only one-sixth of that on Earth. In its earlier test period, the LEMS featured a helicopter crew cabin atop the lunar landing module which the test pilot sat down in and operated the vehicle. Later, the helicopter crew cabin was replaced with a stand-up rectangular cabin. This cabin design was more efficient for controlling maneuvers and for better visual viewing by the pilot. The LEMS was used to help train every astronaut who set foot on the moon.

By 1970, the space race was over and the LEMS was retired and put on display outdoors at the Lunar Lander Research Facility. In 1985, the Lunar Lander Research Facility was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) for its significant contributions to the manned space program and the LEMS was identified as a significant historic artifact associated with the NHL. By 1988, having sat in the weather for 18 years, the LEMS was placed in storage due to deterioration and rust. In order to preserve the unique artifact and its historic significance, in 1989, LaRC personnel formed a plan to refurbish and preserve the LEMS. The plan linked NASA LaRC, the Virginia Air and Space Center (VASC), the National Historic Landmarks Commission, and the Governor's School New Horizons Technical Center (NHTC). The LEMS would be delivered to the NHTC which is located down the road from NASA LaRC in Hampton. Selected students would work on the restoration and the final home for the LEMS would be at the VASC. The LEMS Restoration Project first involved forming the NASA LEMS Restoration Advisory Committee, which included members from all four groups. The purpose of the advisory committee was to determine the specifications for restoration of the LEMS to its original, non-flight condition; provide oversight, technical advice and guidance to the NHTC; review and evaluate project progress, and provide any training or material needs for the NHTC. Top students from the school's sheet metal, auto body, drafting, machine shop and metal fabrication departments worked on the restoration for over two years and it was completed in May of 1991 in time for the grand opening of the VASC in 1992. The LEMS is currently on permanent display at the VASC as part of their Spacecraft Exhibit. Photos of the LEMS on display at the VASC are provided by

[top] Photos

[top] 1989 Refurbishment

1989-09-05 Canright Distribution Letter

1989-09-14 MOA with New Horizons Technical Center

1989-09-19 Restoration Advisory Committee Meeting

1990-03-21 Hathaway to Committee

1990-04-16 Peterson to SHPO

1990-06-07 SHPO to Peterson

1990-10-16 Hathaway to Printing Services

[top] Museum Display

Photos of the LEMS on display at the Virginia Air and Space Center are provided by

[top] Documents

1964 Times-Herald article: Lunar "Bug" Arrives for Test Drops

1964 Lunar Landing Research Vehicle

1965 Reduced Gravity Simulator for Studies of Man's Mobility

1969 Langley Researcher

1969 Lunar Landing Research Facility

1969 Astronauts Trained at LLF

1969 Astronaut Flight Logs at LLF

1969 Astronaut Training Memo

1972 NASA Will Move Replica of Moon

1989 Letter to SHPO

1989 Sep. Parternership will Preserve the Past

1989 Moving LEMS

1989 NASA Puts Relic into Hands of Future

1989 Oct. Partnership Will Preserve The Past

1989 Students to Restore Moon Landing Simulator

1991 Historic Preservation Report

1990 Historic Preservation Report

1991 Simulator Ceremony

1991 LEMS Unveiled

1992 Annual Report on Condition of LEMS

Illustration of Lunar Gravity Simulation Technique for Self-locomotive Studies

Sketch Illustrating the Lunar Walking Simulator

Some Test Results Obtained Using the Lunar Walking Simulator

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator Project Overview

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Description of the Affected Landmark

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Description of the Undertaking

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Description of the Undertaking Effects and Mitigation Measures

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Description of Undertaking Alternatives

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Description of Publicity and Public Comment

Lunar Excursion Module Simulator - Schedule of Planning and Approvals

Paragraph Published in the Virginia Landmarks Register on the Lunar Landing Facility

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