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Development of the Lunar Module

With the signing of the lunar module contract, the Manned Spacecraft Center and Grumman began the design and development of a vehicle that would land two men on the moon and, subsequently, take them off. NASA selected Grumman in late 1962 to build this final piece in Apollo's stack. While the command and service modules were evolving during 1963 and 1964, the lunar module was also changing and the design was moving toward the huge, spidery-legged looking bug that later would land on the moon.


Lunar module generations from 1962 to 1969. On the far left is the vehicle originally proposed by Grumman. On the far right is a model of the version that landed on the moon. The two models in the center were design changes done in 1963 and 1965.


The first part of the design process was to decide what the exterior of the lunar module would look like. Its design was going to be very different from other spacecraft.The Grumman engineers had to be sure their design and materials would hold up to meteoroids and radiation and be able to survive in the unique moon environment. It was decided that the lunar module would be a two stage (part) vehicle and that its landing gear would serve as a launch pad for the second, or ascent, stage on its return flight from the moon. Giving the astronauts the visibility they needed to fly and land the lunar module helped guide the design process even more and led to the cut away areas and triangular shaped windows. (From:


|| LM Interior || LMExterior || Lunar Rover