Encyclopedia Astronautica
Apollo LM Lab

Apollo LM Lab
Credit: NASA
Apollo LM Lab
Credit: NASA
American manned space station. Study 1965. Use of the Apollo LM as an earth-orbiting laboratory was proposed for Apollo Applications Program missions.

The LM would have its engines and propellants removed, providing space for up to 10 metric tons of scientific equipment. A specific version of the LM lab was the Apollo Telescope Mount.

As of 1966 it appeared that the original buy of 12 Saturn IB's and 15 Saturn V's would be used up by the end of 1968 and March 1970, respectively. Any excess to this original buy after the moon landing goal was achieved could be used for Apollo Applications 14-day earth orbit flights beginning in March 1968. The number of flights would depend on the number of surplus spacecraft. Experiments for these missions began definition at the beginning of 1965 and development was already underway by late 1965.

Extended life earth orbit missions would be lofted at the rate of three to four per year starting in 1970 and require several new elements:

  • Production of additional Saturn IB vehicles, with launches to start in 1970.
  • Extended CSM. Definition began in mid-1965, and with development starting in April 1966 and fabrication in spring 1967. First article would be delivered for payload integration in April 1969 with first flight in January 1970..
  • LEM Lab. Definition began in mid-1965, and with development starting in April 1966 and fabrication in February 1967, first flight would be in January 1970.

But as the Viet Nam War and public indifference cut into NASA budgets, these plans were continuously cut-back. This can be seen in the number of Saturn V launches allocated by NASA for Apollo Applications Program lunar activities:

  • December 1966: 13 Saturn V flights
  • May 1967: 12 Saturn V flights
  • October 1967: 6 Saturn V flights
  • June 1968: All post-Apollo lunar launches deleted.

Remaining boosters and spacecraft were dedicated to the Skylab space station and Apollo Soyuz Test Projects. The LM Lab evolved into the Apollo Telescope Mount, launched with and attached to the Skylab station.

AKA: LM Lab.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • US Space Stations Wernher von Braun brought Noordung's rotating station design with him from Europe. This he popularized in the early 1950's in selling manned space flight to the American public. By the late 1950's von Braun's team favoured the spent-stage concept - which eventually flew as Skylab. By the mid-1960's, NASA was concentrating on modular, purpose-built, zero-G stations. These eventually flew as the International Space Station. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn I American orbital launch vehicle. Von Braun launch vehicle known as 'Cluster's Last Stand' - 8 Redstone tanks around a Jupiter tank core,powered by eight Jupiter engines. Originally intended as the launch vehicle for Apollo manned circumlunar flights. However it was developed so early, no payloads were available for it. More...
  • Saturn IB American orbital launch vehicle. Improved Saturn I, with uprated first stage and Saturn IVB second stage (common with Saturn V) replacing Saturn IV. Used for earth orbit flight tests of Apollo CSM and LM. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Grumman American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Grumman, Great River, NY, USA. More...

Apollo LM Lab Chronology

1965 August - .
  • Grumman final report on a study of LEM utilization for AES Earth-orbit missions. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Apollo LM Truck; Apollo LM Taxi; Apollo LM Shelter; Apollo LM Lab. Grumman submitted to NASA its final report on a study of AES for Earth-orbit missions (conducted under the firm's contract for a LEM utilization study). The five-volume report comprised general engineering studies, mission and configuration descriptions for different groups of experiments (both NASA's and those for the Air Force's Manned Orbiting- Laboratory), and a cost and schedule analysis. Additional Details: here....

1966 May 11 - .
  • Refurbished CSMs proposed for AAP. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Gilruth; Mueller. Spacecraft: Apollo CSM; Apollo LM Lab; Apollo X. Replying to a suggestion by MSC Director Robert R. Gilruth that AAP capitalize on Apollo hardware to an even greater extent by using refurbished CSMs, Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller deferred any action toward implementing a competitive effort for such work. This was necessary, he said, because of the present unsettled nature of AAP planning. Additional Details: here....

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