When you look up at the sky, do you ever wonder about the vehicles that have traveled to the moon? Let’s take a closer look at one of the most famous spacecrafts in history - the Apollo Lunar Module. It’s an amazing piece of technology that carried astronauts from lunar orbit to the moon’s surface and back.
The Apollo Lunar Module, often simply called the LM, was a spacecraft used by the United States during the Apollo program. It was originally known as the Lunar Excursion Module. This vehicle was unique because it was the first manned spacecraft to operate only in the vacuum of space.
Imagine standing next to a two-story house. That’s about the size of the Apollo Lunar Module. It stood approximately 23 feet high, which is about the height of two giraffes standing one on top of the other. It was around 14 feet wide, which is a little bit wider than a standard parking space for a car.
To help you understand just how big the Apollo Lunar Module was, let’s compare it to some other things.
The Apollo Lunar Module was made up of two main parts or stages. The first stage was the descent stage. This was the part of the Lunar Module that actually landed on the moon. The second stage was the ascent stage. After the astronauts finished their mission on the moon, they would use the ascent stage to lift off from the moon’s surface and return to the command module, which was waiting for them in lunar orbit.
Ten lunar modules were launched into space. Out of these, six landed humans on the Moon from 1969 to 1972. The first two were uncrewed tests in low Earth orbit. The third was a test flight in low lunar orbit. The Apollo 13 lunar module served as a lifeboat when their command module was disabled by an oxygen tank explosion on the way to the Moon.
The descent stages of the six landed lunar modules are still at their landing sites on the Moon. The ascent stages were crashed into the Moon after use. One ascent stage was discarded in a heliocentric orbit, and the other three were burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Apollo Lunar Module was a remarkable vehicle that played a crucial role in human space exploration. It was not only a technological marvel but also a symbol of human ambition and our quest to explore the universe.
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