Encyclopedia Astronautica
Apollo LM Shelter

LM Shelter
Credit: © Mark Wade
LM Shelter
Credit: © Mark Wade
Post-Apollo lunar
Comparison of American post-Apollo lunar spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Post-Apollo lunar
Comparison of American post-Apollo lunar spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Lunar Exploration
Lunar Exploration Plans
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned lunar habitat. Cancelled 1968. The LM Shelter was essentially an Apollo LM lunar module with ascent stage engine and fuel tanks removed and replaced with consumables and scientific equipment for 14 days extended lunar exploration.

Work was planned to begin in 1966, with 1-2 missions per year beginning in 1970 after accomplishment of the manned lunar landing goal. In the event, only the Lunar Rover vehicle, used in the later Apollo missions, ever saw actual use.

In a scenario requiring two Saturn V launches, the LM shelter would be landed on one launch, with a manned Apollo CSM accompanying it into lunar orbit but conducting lunar orbit surveying operations only. The CSM and its crew would then return to earth. A second Saturn V launch would deliver a CSM and LM Taxi combination to lunar orbit. The crew would take the LM taxi to the surface, landing near the shelter.

In order to house the astronauts during their 14-day stay a two-man STEP expandable shelter was an alternate to the LM Shelter. The STEP could be delivered by an LM descent stage together with a slightly higher discretionary payload than the LM shelter could carry. Either shelter would be delivered first by a logistics flight where the crew merely orbited in the CSM until the automated shelter-carrying LM had landed, and then returned to Earth, thus being able to use the Apollo CSM unchanged. The logistics flight was followed by the personnel transport. Because of the interval between first and second landing, the shelter-carrying LM had to be given a 90-day quiescent capability. The second flight would land the crew using the LM Taxi while the 30-day CSM waited in lunar orbit. After landing, the crew shut down the LM Taxi and activated the shelter system. Two weeks later, the LM Taxi was reactivated and the crew returned to the CSM and back to Earth.

By modifying the third stage of the Saturn V (S-IVB) for operation in lunar space, and by providing a 40-day quiescent capability for an unmanned CSM in lunar orbit, all three astronauts could be landed on the Moon for a 30-day stay time.


Crew Size: 2. Habitable Volume: 6.65 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 2,400 m/s (7,800 ft/sec).

AKA: LM Shelter.
Gross mass: 14,700 kg (32,400 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 6,700 kg (14,700 lb).
Payload: 2,300 kg (5,000 lb).
Height: 6.37 m (20.89 ft).
Thrust: 44.04 kN (9,901 lbf).
Specific impulse: 311 s.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • AES Lunar Base American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. AES (Apollo Extension Systems) was planned as the first American lunar base. It would involve minimal modification of Apollo hardware. The Apollo CSM would be modified for long duration lunar orbit storage. More...

See also
  • Lunar Habitats Lunar habitats were usually for early lunar exploration or as modules for fixed-location base buildup. Mobile habitats were the more logical solution for extended exploration (see Lunar Rovers). More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn V American orbital launch vehicle. America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. More...

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

Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/Aerozine-50 Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Aerozine was a 50-50 mixture of hydrazine and UDMH developed for use in the Titan 2 missile. Copied in one Russian missile but otherwise straight UDMH used more commonly. Higher boiling point than UDMH. More...

  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Henderson, C William, "Extended Lunar Exploration", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964, p 615.
  • National Space Goals for Post-Apollo Period, House of Representatives Hearings, 1965.
  • Arthur, George R, "Lunar Spacecraft Designs", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Volume 10, 1963, p. 52.
  • Salter, Thomas R, "Advanced Lunar Transportation Systems", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964 / NASA Contract NAS8-5027.
  • Evans, Thomas C, "Extended Lunar Exploration", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964, p 480.

Apollo LM Shelter Chronology

1963 December 26 - . LV Family: Saturn V. Launch Vehicle: Saturn V.
  • Extension of Apollo systems to permit more extensive exploration of the lunar surface. - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Shea; von Braun. Spacecraft: Apollo LM Taxi; Apollo LM Shelter. MSFC Director Wernher von Braun described to Apollo Spacecraft Program Manager Joseph F. Shea a possible extension of Apollo systems to permit more extensive exploration of the lunar surface. Huntsville's concept, called the Integrated Lunar Exploration System, involved a dual Saturn V mission (with rendezvous in lunar orbit) to deliver an integrated lunar taxi/shelter spacecraft to the Moon's surface. Additional Details: here....

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 July 11 - .
  • NASA leaders make several significant program decisions affecting AAP and post-Apollo development planning. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Apollo ATM; Apollo LM Truck; Apollo LM Shelter; Apollo LRV. Meeting at Headquarters, Deputy Administrator Robert C. Seamans, Jr., Associate Administrator for Manned Space Flight George E. Mueller, and Associate Administrator for Space Science and Applications Homer E. Newell made several significant program decisions affecting AAP and post-Apollo development planning in general: MSFC would be the lead Center for developing the ATM and would be responsible for all astronomy experiments. MSFC would be the lead Center for 'lunar engineering'-i.e., design and development of lunar exploration vehicles (including surface modules, supply trucks, and roving vehicles). MSC would have responsibility for Earth resources and lunar scientific experiments.

1966 December 1 - .
  • John H. Disher released the report by a study group at Headquarters on various modified lunar modules suitable for a lunar exploration program as part of AAP. - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Apollo LM Truck; Apollo LM Taxi; Apollo LM Shelter; Apollo X. These modified craft took the form of a LM taxi, ferry and logistics craft, a LM shelter, and an 'augmented' LM. Disher authorized MSC to extend its engineering studies contract with Grumman to further define such modified LM configurations. He also asked MSFC to try to increase the Saturn V's translunar injection capability to 46 720 kg. These actions, he explained, afforded an opportunity to pursue any of several alternatives once future landing levels were known.

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