OT: Lunar Excursion Module Question - still orbiting the moon?

my 9 yr old daughter and I watched Apollo 13 and we discussed the Apollo program in general...
she wanted to know if the LEM's are all still orbiting the moon after
detatching from the CM on their way
back to earth?
thx - Craig
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Not an expert but I seem to recall they fell back to the moon.
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After the astronauts were finished with them the LM's, they were crashed into the moon to get some readings from the science equipments that were set up on the lunar surface during the missions.
Except for the Apollo 13 LM, which burned up in the earths atmosphere after it helped get the crew back to earth.
good day, Francis Marion

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From: http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/jun2001/991783298.As.r.html
Date: Mon Jun 4 20:29:36 2001 Posted By: Paul Filmer, Staff, Geosciences Directorate, National Science Foundation Area of science: Astronomy ID: 985970420.As -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Message:
What happened to the Apollo LEMs after docking with the CSMs? (I Suppose the crashed back onto the Moon's surface. At what velocity did they crash?)
Yes, they crashed back on to the Moon, and it was done on purpose, to provide noise for the seismometers to be able to get data on the Moon's deep interior.
You got me curious, so I went and found out what happened to all the Lunar Modules.
Grumman Aerospace built 16 LMs of human-flight-ratable quality, and several additional modules (also known as "lunar test articles," or LTAs) that were used for unmanned flights and ground testing (including test-to-failure).
By the way, the early name for this spacecraft was Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), but NASA felt that the word "Excursion" gave it a frivolous feel, so they got rid of it, and the official name for the spacecraft became Lunar Module (LM) -- but by that point the pronunciation was fixed, and LM was pronounced "lem" and that has confused everybody ever since (including you and me!). ( http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4205/ch14-6.html ).
I'm sure you know, but for completeness I should state that the LM was actually composed of two stages; the descent stage, which carried the motor that slowed the LM on its landing (basically the lower part with the legs), and the ascent stage which was the strange looking upper part in which the astronauts actually stayed, and which carried them back to the CSM in lunar orbit. Your question refers specifically to the fate of the ascent stages of the LMs except in the cases of Apollo 10 and 13 (see below).
In chronological order of LTA and LM flights (or scheduled flights), this is what I found for you:
1. Apollo 4 - launched 9 November 1967. The first all-up launch of Saturn V rocket (unmanned) carried LTA-10R into orbit, which was completely destroyed on re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere.
2. Apollo 5 - launched 22 January 1968. First test of LM1 in space (unmanned). This LM had no legs. The LM's orbit later decayed and LM1 re-entered atmosphere several hundred kilometers SW of Guam on February 12 1968. ( http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4205/ch10-3.html )
3. Apollo 6 - launched 4 April 1968. LTA-2R carried into orbit, and was destroyed on re-entry into the atmosphere. This flight was to have carried LM2, but due to the success of Apollo 5 LM testing, LM2 was never flown, and LM2 now sits in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC.
Apollo 7 and Apollo 8 did not carry LMs, despite having LM Pilots along in their crews?
4. Apollo 9 - launched March 3, 1969. Extensive manned flight-testing of LM3 "Spider" in Earth orbit, carrying out in-space engine tests and maneuvers equivalent to those that would be needed for lunar orbit rendezvous. LM3 becomes the first non-re-entry capable spacecraft to carry humans (i.e. if something went wrong with the CSM, there was no way home). The LM was jettisoned into a highly elliptical orbit (237 km perigee, 6900+ km apogee) that later decayed. LM destroyed on re-entry into atmosphere.
OK, now I finally get to answering your exact question?
5. Apollo 10 - launched May 18 1969. LM4 "Snoopy" goes to the Moon, and descends to within 14,447 meters altitude of the lunar surface, where the descent stage was jettisoned. The descent stage simply fell to the surface, so it impacted at approximately lunar free-fall from this height, 152 m/s or 547 km/hr. The ascent module, on the other hand, was jettisoned after re-docking with the CSM in lunar orbit, and then its engines were fired, injecting it into a solar orbit where it still exists! People often ask if this crew was tempted to land, but it should be pointed out that the ascent module was incapable of climbing back all the way from the surface (insufficient fuel), so the crew knew it would have been stranded had they actually landed.
6. Apollo 11 - launched July 16 1969 LM5 "Eagle" left the descent stage on the Sea of Tranquillity, and the ascent stage was jettisoned 2 hours after docking with the CSM. This orbit decayed, and it crashed onto Moon, but we are unsure where. This impact velocity was much much greater, not only because it was in free-fall from a much higher altitude (the CSM orbited at about 111 km above the surface), but because the forward velocity was at least 600 km/hr as well. My estimate for a minimum speed at impact is 1,600 km/hr. The seismometers left on the Moon by the crew registered the impact of the ascent module. (But note also that all the Saturn IV-B translunar injection stages also crashed onto the Moon before their respective LM's arrival -- this velocity had to be staggering, since the stage was basically accelerating all the way from the Lagrange point inwards?) http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/SP-4205/ch14-6.html for mission details
http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/lunar/images/a11lmreturn.jpg for a photo of Eagle after being jettisoned. http://www.hq.nasa.gov/office/pao/History/ap15fj/loressay.htm for a GREAT page on the physics of getting the LM to get back to the CSM, which was actually more difficult than getting to the Moon itself!
7. Apollo 12 - launched November 14, 1969 LM6 "Intrepid" also left the descent stage on the Moon, on the Sea of Storms. The ascent stage was jettisoned and crashed at the lunar coordinates 3.94 S, 21.21 W, probably at a very similar velocity to LM5.
8. Apollo 13 - launched April 11, 1970 LM7 "Aquarius" was the famous lifeboat that saved Lovell, Swigert and Haise after an explosion on the SM. The LM descent stage was used to insert the LM-CSM into a trans-Earth injection orbit, a task for which it was never designed. LM7 burned up in Earth's atmosphere after it was jettisoned just prior to CM re-entry procedures began.
For great info on the orbit used by the Apollo program, go to http://www.christa.org/lunar.htm , and especially the diagram at http://www.christa.org/lor.htm which shows the various orbits very clearly.
9. Apollo 14 - launched January 31, 1971. LM8 "Antares" also left the descent stage on the Moon, on the Fra Mauro highlands. The ascent stage was jettisoned and crashed at the lunar coordinates 3.42 S, 19.67 W, probably at a very similar velocity to LM5.
10. LM9 was originally scheduled to fly on Apollo 15, but the J-series redesign of the LM to include the rover and extended stay capability made it obsolete. It now sits at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor's Center.
11. Apollo 15 - launched July 26 1971. LM10 "Falcon" was the first of the J-series, heavier LMs. The descent stage was also left on the Moon, in the Hadley Rille area of the Apennines. The ascent stage was jettisoned and crashed at the lunar coordinates 26.36 N, 0.25 E, probably at a very similar velocity to LM5, despite a much higher orbital inclination.
12. Apollo 16 - launched April 16 1972. LM11 "Orion" - descent stage was also left on the Moon, in the Descartes highlands. The ascent stage began to tumble immediately after being jettisoned, so the lunar impact site is unknown.
13. Apollo 17 - launched December 7 1972. LM12 "Challenger" was the final LM to reach the Moon. . The descent stage was also left on the Moon, in the Taurus-Littrow area of the Sea of Serenity. The ascent stage was jettisoned and crashed at the lunar coordinates 19.96 N, 30.50 E, probably at a very similar velocity to LM5
14. Apollo 18 - this mission was cancelled in September of 1970, so LM13 was not used. It now belongs to the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, and was used by HBO for filming "From the Earth to the Moon"
15. Apollo 19 was also cancelled in September of 1970, but the whereabouts of LM 14 are unknown!
16. Apollo 20 was cancelled earlier, on January 4, 1970, along with the manned mission to Mars. LM15 was scrapped by Grumman before making it off the assembly line.
A final module, MSC-16, now sits at the Museum of Science and industry in Chicago, IL. -- I am not sure whether this is a LTA or perhaps it is LM14??
If you want to find out where many components of the American program are now housed, a great resource is the following page: http://aesp.nasa.okstate.edu/fieldguide/frames.html -- you will probably find some piece of American space history is housed nearby.
James McDivitt (Commander, Apollo 9) to Grumman Aerospace workers: "Thanks for the funny-looking spacecraft - It sure flies better than it looks!"

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They donated it to the dolts at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. Since they couldn't find room for it indoors (they had an Apollo spacecraft, but it was the LOSING design from, IIRC, Martin), so they parked it outdoors in the weather. It rapidly went downhill from there. In this case, it was truly casting pearls before swine... Tom Dougherty ( snipped-for-privacy@aol.com)
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Here's a website with whereabouts of US spacecraft, but unfortunatly it doesn't mention unflown lunar modules:
http://www.live.com/misc/CapsuleLocations.html
Tom
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snipped-for-privacy@despammed.com (rwalker) wrote:

Correct. And Lunar Modeule Pilots did not actually pilot the LM, except when Bean once got to take controls on the back side of the moon.

Uh, no I didn't, but one, but it doesn't have LMs:
http://www.live.com/misc/CapsuleLocations.html
The Cosmosphere now has the inner structure of a early LM ascent stage prototype on display. Hadn't seen many pics of this before. This is an awesome museum. They have Gemeni 6 and 10 in for restorations right now.
My library has From the Earth to the Moon HBO series on DVD and its great.
Tom
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RE: LM13
"14. Apollo 18 - this mission was cancelled in September of 1970, so LM13 was not used. It now belongs to the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, and was used by HBO for filming "From the Earth to the Moon"
If anyone gets to Garden City, Long Island, NY I highly recommend stopping by the Cradle of Aviation Museum. They have an excellent display of the 'LM'. First you walk into a 'Clean Room' where they have an LTA on display (I dont recall the #) and reeinactors in the appropriate clean room garb providing info/answer guestions, as you were at KSC in 1969 and seeing a LM being prep'd for the mission. From there you walk in to a small theater for a short clip of the Apollo 11 landing (CGI and footage) and then walk into a room where LM13 is displayed. It is set up on a replica lunar surface, with the exact lighting conditions that were present as Armstrong was exiting the spacecraft. There was also a staff member there to answer questions as well.
Very nice museum.
Peter B
snipped-for-privacy@despammed.com (rwalker) wrote in message

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Apollo 9s would have burned up in the earth's atmosphere too.
Tom
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Interesting question.
I think there are still a lot of 'bits' of Apollo left up there - mostly small bits that fell off.
As far as the LEMs are concerned I'd imagine most were left to fall onto the moon once their use was finished.
For 13, I thought the LEM came most of the way back to earth so it was probably left to hit us.
I seem to recall reading that the LEM for Apollo 10 was left in a solar orbit - where it is now I don't know. This mission was for testing the LEM/docking maneuvres IIRC.
A google should throw up some answers.
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I believe some of them were crashed on to the lunar surface to test seismometers left behind.
Peter Frea

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On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 00:15:00 +0000, Craig wrote:

Standard procedure was they would be allowed to fall back to the moon's surface, in order to get seismec readings. The spent S-IVB stage (third stage) was also sent to a lunar "hard landing" for the same purpose.
There were a few exceptions of course. Apollo 8 (Lovell was CM Pilot on that mission) did not carry a lunar module. Apollo 9 tested the LEM in Earth orbit (they did not leave Earth orbit), and so that LEM would eventually succomb to a fiery reentry. And Apollo 13 carried th LEM back to Earth, jettisoning it right before the CM's reentry.
My Dad had close ties with NASA during the Apollo years (worked for IBM), and so I remember the events fondly. Even though I knew every nit-picky detail of the true story...the movie still had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. GREAT film.
However, I always felt it should it should have received the Oscar for make-up, and costume design. After all, any make-up artist, and wardrobe artist; who can make Clint Howard even dorkier looking, than he does in real life.....DESERVES the Oscar!...lol.
:o)
PS: Somewhere around here, I still have some Apollo mission patches, including an Apollo 13 patch, with Ken Mattingly's name on it! Then again, the "updated" patch, with Swigert's name, may be more of a rare item....
--

Greg Heilers
Registered Linux User #328317 - SlackWare 9.0
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Ever since Gentle Ben that kid has bugged me. Always thought he should have been a birth control poster child.....
Craig

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Craig wrote:

I believe he was on an early Star Trek too.
Bill Banaszak, MFE
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Yes...they didn't even need makeup!
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On Mon, 26 Jan 2004 04:18:52 +0000, Bill Banaszak wrote:

He appeared in "The Corbomite Maneuver", the first regular (post-pilot) episode produced. He also appeared on a couple of Deep Space Nine episodes. And of course, he has probably appeared in every production the Ron Howard is/was involved in. He had a few guest spots on "Happy Days" even!
And..for "Andy Griffith" fans.....Clint Howard was "Little Leon", the toddler (who never spoke) dressed as a cowboy; who was always offering "Barney" a bite of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich....lol
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Greg Heilers
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