This facility was constructed in 1965 at a cost of $3.5 million and was used by the Apollo astronauts as a training simulator to study and practice piloting problems in the final phase of the lunar landing mission.
The Lunar Landing Research Facility is an A-frame steel structure 400 feet long and 230 feet high. Associated with this facility is a full-scale Apollo Lunar Excursion Module or LEM. Simulation of lunar gravity is achieved by employing an overhead partial-suspension system which provides a lifting force by means of cables acting through the vehicle's center of gravity so as to effectively cancel all but one-sixth of earth's gravitational force.
The LEM was constructed using many pieces of off the shelf equipment such as the H-34 helicopter cabin and landing gear shock struts. Nitrogen gas was used to pressurize the fuel system which provided 90 percent hydrogen peroxide to the main lifting body rocket assembly and to the 20 attitude rocket motors located around the periphery of the vehicle frame. The cab of the LEM can accommodate two persons at the same time.
The Lunar Landing Research Facility was also used as a lunar-walking simulator for the Apollo astronauts. This was done by suspending the subject on his side so that he was free to generate walking movements on a plane inclined to about 80.5 degrees relative to the vertical direction of earth's gravity.
The base of the Lunar Landing Facility was modeled with fill dirt to resemble the surface of the Moon. Pock-marked holes, pits and craters resemble the lunar landscape encountered by Apollo 11 when it landed on the Moon in July 1969.
The Lunar Landing Facility is intact and retains almost all of its design integrity. The facility is now known as the Impact Dynamics Research Facility and is used by NASA Langley for aircraft impact studies. The base of the facility has been modified so that the simulated lunar landscape is gone and has been replaced by an impact runway that can be modified to simulate various types of crash environments.
By kjfitz @ 2005-08-26 15:04:18