31 Luglio 1971 la prima guida lunare

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Era il 31 luglio 1971 quando gli astronauti David Scott e Jim Irwin, della missione Apollo 15.

Guidarono per la prima volta un veicolo elettrico sulla superficie lunare.

La prima “ guida lunare” durò 3 ore e 2 min. e percorsero 27,8 Km, con una distanza massima dalla LM DI 5.0 Km.

Il veicolo lunare LVR

Il veicolo lunare LVR ( acronimo di Lunar Roving Vehicle )  era, un veicolo elettrico progettato per operare nel vuoto a bassa gravità .In grado  di attraversare la superficie lunare consentiva agli astronauti di ampliare la gamma delle loro attività extra-veicolari.
Lungo 3,1 metri, alto 1,14 metri con un passo di 2,3 metri , del peso di 210 Kg , poteva trasportare 490 Kg sulla superficie lunare. A pieno carico LRV aveva una altezza da terra di 36 cm.

Costruito dalla Boeing e dalla General Motors, fù realizzato in alluminio 2219 . Consisteva in un telaio divido in tre parti, incernierato al centro, per poterlo ripiegare  e  “ appenderlo” al Modulo Lunare.

L’alimentazione era  fornita da due batterie da 36 volt. Costruite  con idrossido di potassio-argento-zinco  non erano ricaricabili. Avevano una capacità di 121 amp-hr e fornivano una autonomia di 100 km percorsi a piena potenza.

Oltre i motori di trazione le batterie alimentavano lo sterzo e una presa utility da 36 volt. Montata sul frontale del LVR , alimentava  l’unità relè di comunicazione e la telecamera

Le ruote erano costruite  con un filato di alluminio, avevano un diametro 81,8 cm e  una larghezza di 23 cm. Ogni ruota aveva un proprio motore elettrico da un quarto di cavallo di spinta.  LVR aveva una propria autonomia motrice e un raggio di sterzata di 3,1 metri.

Il LVR  era sprovvisto di volante. Un controller mano a forma di T, situato tra i due sedili controllava  i motori  delle quattro unità e  uno stick comandava la marcia in avanti e indietro
Una grande antenna parabolica, costruita in  maglie , fu  montata su un albero nel centro anteriore del rover.

Guide Lunari

Altre due  “ guide lunari”, dopo il  31 luglio 1971 furono fatte dal LVR

La seconda  durò 3 ore e 26 min. Furono percorsi  26,7 Km, con una distanza massima dalla LM di 4.5 Km.Venne eseguita dagli astronauti John Young e Charles Duke, della missione Apollo 16.

La terza, durò 4 ore e 26 min. Vennero  percorsi 35,9 Km, con una distanza massima dalla LM  di 7.6 Km. Fù eseguita da Gene Cernan e Harrison Schmitt, astronauti di Apollo 17.

Harrison Schmitt di Apollo 17 ha detto: “…. il Lunar Rover ha dimostrato di essere affidabile,sicuro e flessibile.Senza di esso, le maggiori scoperte scientifiche di Apollo 15, 16, e 17 non sarebbero state possibili.Il Lunar Rover a reso la comprensione dell’evoluzione lunare  possibile “. 

 Dopo il 31 luglio 1971, sul nostro satellite si trovano tuttora i tre LRV usati nelle missioni Apollo 15, 16 e 17.




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