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Apollo LPM
Part of Apollo LM Family
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).

AKA: Lunar Payload Module. Status: Study 1968. Payload: 3,620 kg (7,980 lb). Gross mass: 15,000 kg (33,000 lb).

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.

Family: Lunar Landers, Lunar logistics spacecraft, Moon. Country: USA. Agency: NASA. Bibliography: 1991.

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