The opportunity to land a man on the moon on July 20, 1969, was the result of the enormous work of a large number of people and the investment of fabulous money in the 1960s. An ambitious mission required ambitious approaches. We had to develop and test new technologists who were previously only read in science fiction. The tests of these technologies were often associated with a mortal danger.
Who was the first on the moon?
The first to enter the moon was American astronaut Neil Armstrong. With his "great leap for all mankind" he achieved what was considered impossible. However, only a few are aware that an astronaut could have died a year before this biggest event.
In order to prepare the Apollo crews for the moon landing, NASA used special aircraft with vertical take-off and landing techniques.
See also: Preparation for the first manned mission to the moon. How was it
Five such devices (two test and three training devices, LLRV and LLTV) were developed by the Bell Aircraft Corporation and used by NASA as a lunar module's flight simulator.
The peculiarity of these machines was that their engines were configured to mimic the flight and landing in close-to-moon conditions where gravity is six times lower than on Earth. With the help of ordinary helicopters that was impossible. It was very dangerous to roll a multi-ton car at low altitude. And the imitation of the moon landing took place at a low altitude of about 60-90 meters above the ground. Used vehicles could be heavily tilted in flight and monitor the response of the systems.
The design of these machines consisted of triangular aluminum frames with four legs of the chassis. The cockpit was located between the two columns just below the main engine and developed a thrust of 5/6 of the weight of the unit. This made it possible to simulate the flight under the conditions of lunar gravity. But everything looked like a flight on a powder keg.
The scheme of the flight simulator of the lunar module
The unit also had two vertical stabilization reserve motors that should have been started in the event of a main engine failure. Rolling, pitching and yawing are controlled by 16 small peroxide hydrogen engines connected to the pilot cabin via an electronic flight control system. To generate the required pressure in the hydrogen peroxide-based fuel system of two main and 16 steering motors, high-pressure helium was used, located in tanks installed on the simulator chassis.
How Neil Armstrong almost died
On May 6, 1968, a year before the flight to the moon, Neil Armstrong prepared his 21 training flights on a similar simulator. The first 20 flights went smoothly. But obviously something went wrong this time.
After a few minutes of flight, the apparatus operated by Armstrong tipped sharply to one side and began to sink rapidly. The flight took place at a height of about 61 meters above the ground, so Armstrong had no time to think.
Fortunately, Neil was able to pull the ejector lever in time and parachute safely onto the ground. Historians say that if he hesitated a second, he would die.
According to eyewitnesses, Armstrong was a man who was able to maintain complete composure even in seemingly hopeless situations. Almost immediately after the incident that could rob him of life, Neal returned to his office and worked on the papers the rest of the day as if nothing had happened.
It should be added that during the preparation of the pilots of the space missions of the Apollo program 3 flight simulators were destroyed. However, this did not prevent the project managers from continuing to prepare for the landing.
The last two remaining simulators (LLRV-2 and LLTV-3) are now in museums.
LLTV-3 Moon Simulator at the Johnson Space Center Museum (USA)
The USSR had similar developments
Like no other aircraft, American lunar landing gear testing equipment has also been called a "flying bed". The USSR also had similar flight simulators using vertical takeoff and landing technology.
See also: Why did not the astronauts of the USSR fly to the moon?
Moreover, they appeared much earlier than the United States. The Soviets were developed in 1955, the Americans appeared only in 1963.
Officially, Soviet vehicles were called turbo guns. However, they were jokingly called "flying tables". As with American vehicles, test flights with a turbolet were very dangerous. The machine did not have much stability, so the likelihood of tipping over was very high. In the event of an engine failure, the unit turned into an ordinary piece of iron, which, as you know, only tends to fly down quickly and quickly.
Turbolet 1958 on the air parade in Tushino
Turbolet at the Monino Air Force Museum
In contrast to the American simulators that prepared people for the moon landing, technologies for the vertical take-off and landing of the Yak 38 Deck fighter were developed in the Soviet Union on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
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