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The Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV) or lunar rover is a battery-powered four-wheeled rover used on the Moon in the last three missions of the American Apollo program (15, 16, and 17) during 1971 and 1972. It was popularly known as “moon buggy“, a play on the words “dune buggy”.
What is the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV)?
The concept of a lunar rover predated Apollo, with a 1952–1954 series in Collier’s Weekly magazine by Wernher von Braun and others, “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!” In this, von Braun described a six-week stay on the Moon, featuring 10-ton tractor trailers for moving supplies. The LRV was transported to the Moon on the Apollo Lunar Module (LM) and, once unpacked on the surface, could carry one or two astronauts, their equipment, and lunar samples. The three LRVs remain on the Moon.
The Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle was an electric-powered vehicle designed to operate in the low-gravity vacuum of the Moon and to be capable of traversing the lunar surface, allowing the Apollo astronauts to extend the range of their surface extravehicular activities. Three LRVs were used on the Moon, one on Apollo 15 by astronauts David Scott and Jim Irwin, one on Apollo 16 by John Young and Charles Duke, and one on Apollo 17 by Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. The mission commander served as the driver, occupying the left-hand seat of each LRV. Features are available in papers by Morea, Baker, and Kudish.
The Lunar Roving Vehicle had a mass of 460 pounds (210 kg), and was designed to hold a payload of 1,080 pounds (490 kg). This resulted in weights in the approximately one-sixth g on the lunar surface of 77 pounds-force (35 kgf) empty and 260 pounds-force (116 kgf) fully loaded. The frame was 10 feet (3.0 m) long with a wheelbase of 7.5 feet (2.3 m). The height of the vehicle was 3.6 feet (1.1 m). The frame was made of 2219 aluminium alloy tubing welded assemblies and consisted of a three-part chassis that was hinged in the center so it could be folded up and hung in the Lunar Module Quadrant 1 bay. It had two side-by-side foldable seats made of tubular aluminium with nylon webbing and aluminum floor panels.
An armrest was mounted between the seats, and each seat had adjustable footrests and a Velcro-fastened seat belt. A large mesh dish antenna was mounted on a mast on the front center of the rover. The suspension consisted of a double horizontal wishbone with upper and lower torsion bars and a damper unit between the chassis and upper wishbone. Fully loaded, the LRV had a ground clearance of 14 inches (36 cm).
Text: Wikipedia contributors. “Lunar Roving Vehicle.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Jul. 2017. Web. 11 Aug. 2017.