Encyclopedia Astronautica
Apollo LPM


American lunar logistics spacecraft. Study 1968. The unmanned portion of the Lunar Surface Rendezvous and Exploration Phase of Apollo envisioned in 1969 was the Lunar Payload Module (LPM).

This was an Apollo Lunar Module, augmented or not, in which all of the normal ascent features had been eliminated. This allowed a 3620 kg payload to be delivered to the lunar surface, to be used by a separately landed crew.

Crew provisions, life support, ascent electrical power, the ascent engine, ascent propellant tanks, controls and displays would all be eliminated from the standard Apollo LM ascent stage . In their place would be logistics payload items and their support systems. The guidance system would be modified to provide an unmanned landing capability. A typical LPM payload would be as follows:

  • LSSM Local Science Survey Module rover (including unloading penalty): 500 kg
  • Two Lunar Flying Units (full tanks): 450 kg
  • Two additional LFU fuel charges: 270 kg
  • 30 m drill: 110 kg
  • 3 m drill: 50 kg
  • Electrical power package: 230 kg
  • PLSS units (2 for LSSM plus 2 spares): 120 kg
  • PLSS expendable (LiOH plus batteries): 180 kg
  • Hard suits - spare: 50 kg
  • RTG plus batteries (two units for lunar storage power): 90 kg
  • Miscellaneous scientific equipment: 450 kg
  • ALSEP Arrays: 230 kg
  • LM Resupply: 450 kg
  • Packaging and tie-down penalty: 440 kg

  • Total: 3620 kg

Just because the dual missions had greater weight capability and longer stay time did not mean that the necessity of a precision landing was eliminated. The mission was complicated by the fact that the LPM has to land unmanned and the LM crew had to work with both vehicles on the surface, i.e. they had be landed close together. Thus, if the unmanned vehicle landed first it would need a CEP of about 100 m for efficiency. The manned vehicle would land as close to it as possible using redesignation procedures. A number of schemes were suggested to achieve a CEP of 100 m, of which TV guidance with man in the loop appeared the most promising. A less promising alternative was to have the manned vehicle land first and then "talk down" the unmanned vehicle, which would have been stored in orbit.

AKA: Lunar Payload Module.
Gross mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb).
Payload: 3,620 kg (7,980 lb).

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Associated Countries
See also
  • Lunar Landers Lunar lander design started with the British Interplanetary Society's concept of 1939, followed by Von Braun's 3964 tonne monster of 1953. It then settled down to more reasonably-sized variants. Landers came in three main types: two stage versions, with the first stage being a lunar crasher that would brake the spacecraft until just above the lunar surface, then separate, allowing the second stage to land on the surface; two stage versions consisting of a descent stage that went all the way to the surface, and an ascent stage that would take the crew from the surface to lunar orbit or on an earth-return trajectory; and single stage versions, using liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellants. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • Hinners, N W, James, D B, and Schmidt, F N, A Lunar Exploration Program, Bellcomm Technical Memorandum TM-68-1012-1, 5 January 1968..

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