Moonpod – The Lunar Landing Research Vehicle, Built By Bell Aerosystems In 1964

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The research vehicles were vertical take-off vehicles that used a single jet engine mounted on a gimbal so that it always pointed vertically. It was adjusted to cancel 5/6 of the vehicle’s weight, and the vehicle used hydrogen peroxide rockets which could fairly accurately simulate the behaviour of a lunar lander.

image/text credit: NASA Armstrong F. R Center

Built of aluminum alloy trusses, the LLRVs were powered by a General Electric CF700-2V turbofan engine with a thrust of 4,200 lbf (19 kN), mounted vertically in a gimbal. The engine lifted the vehicle to the test altitude and was then throttled back to support five-sixths of the vehicle’s weight, simulating the reduced gravity of the Moon.via(wikipedia).

image/text credit: NASA Armstrong F. R Center

Two hydrogen peroxide lift rockets with thrust that could be varied from 100 to 500 lbf (440 to 2,200 N) handled the vehicle’s rate of descent and horizontal movement. Sixteen smaller hydrogen peroxide thrusters, mounted in pairs, gave the pilot control in pitch, yaw and roll.

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This video, featuring comments from the late Apollo 11 astronaut and research pilot Neil Armstrong, explores the contributions of the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) development and flight-testing at NASA’s Flight Research Center, recently renamed in Armstrong’s honor, to the Apollo moon-landing program.

The pilot had an ejection seat. On activation, it propelled the pilot upward from the vehicle with an acceleration of roughly 14 times the force of gravity for about a half second. From the ground, it was sufficient to propel the seat and pilot to an altitude of about 250 feet (80 m) where the pilot’s parachute could be automatically and successfully deployed.