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Lunar Landing Training Vehicle NASA 952

Text copyright 2005 by Eric M. Jones. All rights reserved.
All photographs of the LLTV 952 display were taken by John Osborn in August 2004. Used with permission.
John writes, "These pictures were taken with the able technical assistance of Brion Au. The poor focus on many pictures is a result of the unusual techniques required to take them and could not be helped."
Last revised 29 April 2006.
Gene Cernan in LLTV 952

Gene Cernan in the cabin of the only LLTV (NASA 952)
that survived to the end of the Apollo Program.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

The Lunar Landing Training Vehicle (LLTV) - sometimes called The Flying Bedstead - was an open framework vehicle which, according to Journal contributor Ed Hengeveld, was equipped with a "turbofan engine which could be throttled to support five-sixths of the weight of the vehicle. Lift for the remaining one-sixth of the LLTV's weight was provided by two hydrogen peroxide lift rockets. These engines were operated by the pilot to simulate the engine that the Lunar Module would use during its descent to the Moon." The LLTV was also equipped with a set of maneuvering thrusters similar to those on the LM so that the pilot could get a seat-of-the-pants feel for flying the LM.

NASA built two copies of an earlier model called the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) and three LLTVs. Three of these five were lost in accidents: one on 6 May 1968 with Neil Armstrong as pilot; one on 8 December 1968 with Joe S. Algranti as pilot; and one on 29 January 1971 with Stuart M. Present as pilot. All three pilots bailed out safely.

After the third accident, only one of the LLTVs remained: NASA 952.

Apollo 12 Commander Pete Conrad commented, "(NASA Administrator) Dr. Gilruth, bless his soul, just worried to death that somebody was going to get bagged in an LLTV. And so, he asked everybody when they came back (from the Moon) 'Do you think it's necessary to fly the LLTV?' And, the feeling that I think Neil had and myself - and I'm quite sure the rest of the guys - was 'Yes, you really should go ahead and fly the LLTV.' But, having had the three accidents and having that one vehicle left, Dr. Gilruth asked the guys to figure out how many flights we got on a vehicle before we crumped one. And it turned out to be like 260 flights or something like that. To finish the training after the third accident, they had to fly 240 more flights; and, so, when Gene (Cernan, the Apollo 17 Commander) flew the last flight in his training, the thing went to the Smithsonian or whatever because nobody was ever going to fly that thing again as far as Gilruth was concerned. And he almost didn't authorize the training, see. And so, at least the early guys pushed very hard for everybody to continue flying it."

As of August 2004, the surviving LLTV was on display in the lobby of Building 2 at NASA's Johnson Space Center. Journal Contributor John Osborn, who took all of the photographs linked below, writes, "The LLTV is suspended from the ceiling, making close-up photography a challenge."

LLTV 952 from the left front

Left-side view of LLTV NASA 952
on display in the lobby of Building 2 at the NASA Johnson Space Center.
(Click on the image for a larger view.)

JSC Historical Display

Exterior of LLTV NASA 952

LLTV 952 from the left front

Plan Schematic

LLTV 952 from the front

Front view of LLTV NASA 952 from below.
(Click on the image for a larger view.)

Cockpit of LLTV NASA 952

Front View of the cabin

View into the cabin from the front, showing a
seated manikin/dummy with its left hand on a controller
Panels of switches and circuit breakers are on the pilot's left.
Similar layout and functions to the panels
to the Commander's left in the LM.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

View into the cabin thru the Righthand window

View into the cabin through the righthand window.
The instrument panel has a similar layout
and location as the one in the LM.
The 'eight ball' is prominent at left center
with the crosspointers immediately above it.
(Click on the image for a larger version.)

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