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The animation shows the two-seater Lunar Rover used in the Apollo 15 mission
Apollo 15, lunar rover, Moon, Apollo program, lunar module, Moon landing, USA, moonstone, Dave Scott, James Irwin, Alfred Worden, Falcon, space suit, planet, outer space, space research, astronomy, geography, _javasolt
The Apollo 15 mission was the 9th manned mission in the United States´ Apollo space programme. This mission´s objectives were ambitious: to spend a relatively long time on the Lunar surface, as well as to carry out thorough scientific investigations with an expanded set of instruments.
The spacecraft was launched on 26 July 1971 from the Kennedy Space Centre, with a 3-member crew. Captain Dave Scott and Lunar Module Pilot James Irwin landed on the Moon’s surface at the Hadley-Apennine, on the 5th day of the mission. Alfred Worden, the Command Module Pilot, remained on the spacecraft and conducted scientific observations while in orbit around the Moon.
The two astronauts stepped onto the surface of the Moon three times from the ‘Falcon’ Lunar Module. They were wearing a state-of-the-art space suit during the mission. They collected a large amount of rock samples, conducted numerous measurements and built the 4th Lunar research station.
However, the most important component of the mission was the use of the first Lunar Roving Vehicle on the surface of the Moon. The Lunar Rover was equipped with numerous devices in order to carry out geological research. It was a lightweight, 4-wheeled vehicle, which could carry a huge load.
To facilitate transport and unfolding, it featured a foldable chassis and floorplate. Its wheels were driven by separate electric motors. Although its maximum speed reached 18-20 km/h, the average speed was about 8-12 km/h, due to the terrain conditions.
The vehicle was operated from the left seat, with a T-shaped hand controller. Although it was not specified in the regulations, it was the Commander’s privilege to operate the rover. To improve mobility, it was built with a raised floorplate. Wheels were constructed from titanium mesh. The Rover covered a total of 27.9 km during the 3 days of the mission spent on the surface and collected 77 kg of Lunar Rock.
The Lunar Module left the Moon and docked on the Command Module on 2 August. The crew landed in the Pacific Ocean on 7 August. During their over 12 day-long mission they deployed numerous new instruments and provided data for scientific research.
Lunar rovers were later also used on the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions. All 3 vehicles were left on the lunar surface.
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