Tuesday, April 15, 2014

50 Years Ago: FIrst Lunar Test Vehicle Ready

LLRV in flight over Edwards AFB in 1965.

Back in 1964 on April 15, the NASA FLight Research Center received the first version of the LLRV (Lunar Landing Research Vehicle). Built by Bell Aerosystems Company, the cage-like vehicle operationally resembled the flight characteristics of the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module. On this machine, astronauts and test pilots would practice maneuvers that would be required to land the LEM on the Moon in future Apollo missions. The controls were adapted to function in Earth gravity, but feel to the pilot how engineers thought they would feel while simulating Lunar gravity. The vehicle was very unstable, and was considered one of the most dangerous craft a test pilot could ride. This was the first of two vehicles delivered.

A closer look at the LLRV. COl. Emil "Jack" Klueger was one of the test pilots who would learn to tame the beast.

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