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Apollo 9

Photo Credit and Image Copyright: EarthToTheMoon.com Lunar Module Photo Credit : NASA
                      Module Descent Engine Model
Cut Away
                      Drawing Of Lunar Module
LM Descent Engine Model
Cut Away Drawing Of Lunar Module Systems
The descent engine on the Lunar Module has been called the "the biggest challenge and the most outstanding technical development of Apollo".  The proposed engine was required to be throttleable.  Never before had this was this requirement placed on a manned spacecraft.  The engine was designed and manufactured by Space Technology Laboratories, Incorporated. (STL).

The Lunar Module and its decent engine were first tested in space by a manned crew during the Apollo 9 mission.  This shake down cruise was an Earth orbital mission.  Astronaut James McDivitt was the Commander of the mission and flew the Lunar Module.  Rusty Schweickart was his Lunar Module Pilot.  The call sign for the Lunar Module was "Spider" in reference to it's spindly legs.

The model of the descent engine shown here was constructed in the Grumman model shop in Bethpage, New York on Long Island during the mid 1960s.  It is approximately 1/10th scale.  It was hand built and hand painted in the Grumman model shop.  Only four models like this were constructed.  This is NOT a desk top model.

The model is constructed out of mahogany and brass.  The engine rests on a walnut base and is attached to a tapered brass rod.  The original Grumman brass plaque is affixed to the base.  The model is 8 3/4 inches high.  The diameter of the base of the nozzle is 5 3/4 inches.  The diameter of the top of the engine is 2 inches.

The Earth To The Moon Air & Space Museum acquired this artifact in an eBay auction.

Only one other time have we seen a model like this.  That sighting was made on an episode of the television show, I Dream Of Jeanie.  In one episode a model exactly like this one is seen in Major Nelson's office.  When one considers that only four of these models were constructed, it is surprising that one made it on the set of  the 60s television show.

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UPDATED : March 29, 2008
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