The possibility of landing a man on the moon July 20, 1969of the year was the result of the enormous work of a huge number of people and the investment of fabulous money at the times of the 60s of the last century. An ambitious mission demanded ambitious approaches. We had to develop and test new technologists, which previously could only be read in science fiction. Often, the tests of these technologies were accompanied by a risk to life.
Who was the first on the moon?
The first person to set foot on the moonwas the American astronaut Neil Armstrong. With his "huge leap for all of humanity," he achieved what was considered impossible. However, few people know that a year before this greatest event, an astronaut could have died.
To train the Apollo crews for the moon landing, NASA used special flying vehicles with vertical take-off and landing technology.
See also: Preparing for the first manned mission to the moon. How it was
Five such devices (two test and three training, LLRV and LLTV) were developed by Bell Aircraft Corporation and used by NASA as a flying simulator of the lunar module.
The peculiarity of these machines was thatthe engines were configured in such a way that it was possible to imitate flight and landing in conditions of near-moon space, where gravity is 6 times lower than on Earth. With the help of ordinary helicopters it was impossible to do. It was very dangerous to roll a multi-ton car at low altitude. And the imitation of landing on the moon was carried out at a small height of about 60-90 meters above the ground. Used vehicles could be tilted strongly in flight and monitor the responsiveness of the systems.
The design of these machines consisted of aluminumtriangular frames with four landing gear. The cockpit was located between the two pillars, right under the main jet engine, developing thrust at 5/6 of the weight of the unit itself. This made it possible to imitate the flight in the conditions of lunar gravity. But everything looked like a flight on a powder keg.
The scheme of the flying simulator of the lunar module
The device also had two spare engines forvertical stabilization, which should have been launched in case of failure of the main one. Roll, pitch and yaw are controlled using 16 small peroxide-hydrogen engines connected to the pilot's cabin through an electronic flight control system. To create the necessary pressure in the fuel system based on peroxide-hydrogen of two main and 16 steering engines, helium under high pressure was used, which is located in tanks installed on the simulator chassis.
How Neil Armstrong almost died
May 6, 1968, that is, a year before the flight toLuna, Neil Armstrong was preparing to perform his 21 training flight on a similar simulator. The first 20 flights went smoothly before that. But this time, something obviously went wrong.
After a few minutes of flight, the apparatus, whichran Armstrong dramatically tilted to one side and began to decline rapidly. The flight took place at an altitude of about 61 meters above the ground, so Armstrong did not have time to think.
Fortunately, Neil managed to pull the ejection handle in time and safely descended to the ground by parachute. Historians say that if he hesitated for a second, he would die.
According to eyewitnesses, Armstrong was a manable to maintain complete composure even in the most seemingly hopeless situations. Almost immediately after the incident, which could deprive him of his life, Neal just returned to his office and spent the rest of the day working on paperwork as if nothing had happened.
It should be added that during the preparation of pilotsThe space missions of the Apollo program destroyed 3 flight simulators. However, this did not prevent project managers from continuing preparations for the landing.
The last two remaining simulators (LLRV-2 and LLTV-3) are now in museums.
LLTV-3 lunar simulator at the Johnson Space Center Museum (USA)
The USSR also had similar developments
For its appearance, not like anyother aircraft, American devices for testing lunar landings turned out to be nicknamed the "flying bed". The USSR also had similar flying simulators using the technology of vertical takeoff and landing.
See also: Why did not the astronauts of the USSR fly to the moon?
Moreover, they appeared much earlier than the United States. The Soviet were developed in 1955, the Americans, they appeared only in 1963.
Officially Soviet vehicles were calledturbo. However, they were jokingly called “flying tables”. As in the case of American vehicles, test flights on a turbolet were very dangerous. The machine did not have great stability, so the probability of tipping was very high. In the event of engine failure, the apparatus turned into an ordinary piece of iron, which, as you know, is only inclined to fly down and very quickly.
Turbolet in 1958 on the air parade in Tushino
Turbolet at the Monino Air Force Museum
Unlike American simulators, whichused to prepare people for landing on the moon, the Soviet were used to develop the technology of vertical takeoff and landing of the Yak-38 deck attack aircraft on the deck of an aircraft carrier.
Subscribe to our channel in Yandex.Dzen to keep abreast of the latest developments from the world of science and technology.