The LM – Lunar Module
The Lunar Lander
In my previous posting, I wrote about the Lunar lander being stowed in the top of the S-IV-B portion of the Saturn V. The Command Module docked with the LM and gently pulled it out of the storage area. The two spacecraft traveled to the moon together, docked, allowing the astronauts to travel between the craft through a tunnel which was part of the docking equipment.
Two of the astronauts, the two traveling to the surface of the moon, would check out the controls and equipment needed for the landing. Once equipment was deemed to be working, the systems would be powered down to save power, since the LM operated on battery power, not fuel cells.
The LM had two sections, the bottom portion with the 4 landing legs contained the descent engine used to slow the speed to the surface. The upper portion, the ascent section, used the lower section as a launch platform. The bottom portion would remain on the moon, the upper section carried the astronauts back to the command module for the return trip to earth. After the crew transfer back to the command module (along with the moon rocks), the upper section either remained in orbit or was sent crashing into the surface to conduct studies on moon quakes.
The LM was a much simpler craft, it contained no chairs or couches for the astronauts, they had to stand or lay on their backs while making the journey to the surface, depending on the orientation of the craft. The craft required no heat shield. It was not designed to be aerodynamic, since there is no atmosphere around the moon. The LM weighed about 16 tons, designed to be as light as possible, small windows provided for viewing the landing site, but adequate. Foil on the outside of the structure, rather than heavier steel sections.