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The challenge of safe lunar landing

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2 Author(s)
Brady, T. ; Charles Stark Draper Lab., Cambridge, MA, USA ; Paschall, S.

The Apollo lunar landings were both incredibly successful and challenging. As the world watched, each of the six landing missions faced potentially mission ending hazards within each of the landing sites while simultaneously dealing with diminishing fuel reserves and a unique landing environment. Hazards in the form of rocks, craters and slopes all were perilously close to each of the successfully landed missions and brought to light the incredible challenge each mission faced. For each of the Apollo landings, mission designers restricted all landing locations to near side equatorial regions and to near ideal lighting conditions for the crew. Unlike the Apollo lander, a next generation lunar lander vehicle (LLV) will have the capability to land globally and in a variety of lighting conditions. This will greatly impact the overall design of the LLV and the role of the onboard crew. This paper examines the hazards and challenges present for each of the six Apollo lunar landings to better understand and design a next generation LLV.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2010 IEEE

Date of Conference:

6-13 March 2010