ASME-Landmark:Apollo Lunar Module LM-13


The Apollo lunar module (LM-13) was developed by the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp. (now Northrop Grumman). The LM's main functions were to carry two astronauts from lunar orbit to the moon's surface, and then return them to lunar orbit to rendezvous and dock with the Apollo command-service modules. On the surface, the LM served as a shelter and base of operations as the astronauts carried out their exploration and experiments. On July 20, 1969, the LM "Eagle" touched down on the moon, becoming the first piloted spacecraft to land on a celestial body other than Earth. Five more landings followed. This vehicle, LM-13, was scheduled to fly as Apollo 18, and is representative of the lunar modules that traveled to the moon.

The LM's module design was economical because each could be designed for specialized functions of exploration and re-entry operations. Thomas J. Kelley, who served as the engineering manager and eventually deputy program manager for the lunar module program, has recalled in the past, "We didn't know anything about space anymore than most people did at that time. But we did know a lot about producing reliable flying machines." Kelley's mechanical engineering and propulsion concepts and designs helped shape the plans for the Apollo missions.

Thirteen lunar modules were built and six landed on the moon. No. 13, which was to have flown on the canceled Apollo 18 flight, is on permanent loan from the Smithsonian Institution to the Cradle of Aviation Museum. See ASME website for more information