Encyclopedia Astronautica
Navy SLV



navyslv.jpg
Navy SLV
US Navy Soft Landing Vehicle in test rig, 1961. This was the prototype of a lunar lander that was to have landed a dog on the moon by 1963 and returned lunar soil by 1964.
Credit: US Navy
American manned lunar lander. Study 1961. The spacecraft for a US Navy lunar landing program that was to place a naval aviator on the moon by 1967.

Like the US Army and Air Force, the US Navy conducted studies of a manned lunar landing program in the late 1950's. Unlike the Army Horizon and USAF Lunex projects, no significant material on the plan has come to light to date. What was known was the following:

The small-team incremental development program was headed by the inimitable Dr. Nicolaides at China Lake. The team's Soft-Landing Vehicle (SLV) began control testing in a large rig in 1961. Termed in the official history 'an outgrowth of NOTS' unparalleled propulsion expertise', the SLV was an early prototype moon-lander that demonstrated advanced hypergolic-fuel, demand-thrust, and autonomous-control technologies. The history states cryptically 'this unit committed suicide following the final test of the program'....

The SLV would have sent a dog to the moon in 1963, and returned a soil sample in 1964. A scaled-up version of the lander was to have put a Navy man on the lunar surface by 1967.

Further Navy lunar efforts, like those of the Army and Air Force, were discontinued after NASA was given the Apollo moon landing project in April 1961.

More... - Chronology...


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
  • NRL American manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC, USA. More...
  • USN American agency overseeing development of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. USN Joint Task Force 7, USA. More...

Bibliography
  • Ertel , Ivan D; Morse , Mary Louise; et al, The Apollo Spacecraft Chronology Vol I - IV NASA SP-4009, NASA, 1966-1974. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • China Lake Weapons Digest, Web Address when accessed: here.

Navy SLV Chronology


1959 April 24 - .
  • All three military services studying a base on the moon - . Nation: USA. Related Persons: Schriever. Spacecraft: Lunex; Horizon Lunar Outpost; Navy SLV. Testifying before the Senate Committee on Aeronautical and Space Sciences, Maj. Gen. Bernard A. Schriever, Commander of the Air Force Ballistic Missile Division, stated that all three military services should be studying the possibility of a base on the moon. Up to that point, he felt, all such studies had been "in the blue thinking."

1961 During the Year - .
  • US Navy lunar landing program - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: Navy SLV. A US Navy lunar landing program was headed by the inimitable Dr. Nicolaides at China Lake. The team's Soft-Landing Vehicle (SLV) began control testing in a large rig in 1961. The SLV would have sent a dog to the moon in 1963, and returned a soil sample in 1964. A scaled-up version of the lander was to have put a Navy man on the lunar surface by 1967. Further Navy lunar efforts, like those of the Army and Air Force, were discontinued after NASA was given the Apollo moon landing project in April 1961.

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