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NASA used a simulator to train the Moon landing

The simulator called LOLA was built to study problems related to landing on the lunar surface as part of the Apollo program. You will also see the original video of how the simulation actually looked like.

  Author: Spaceman | Source: nasa.gov | 25th November 2012  

Project LOLA, short for Lunar Orbit and Landing Approach was part of the Apollo program. The LOLA simulator was built at Langley, Virginia with a purpose to help study the potential problems that could occur at landing on the lunar surface. The project cost nearly $2 million dollars.

As the James Hansen wrote in "Spaceflight Revolution: NASA Langley Research Center From Sputnik to Apollo":

"This simulator was designed to provide a pilot with a detailed visual encounter with the lunar surface; the machine consisted primarily of a cockpit, a closed-circuit TV system, and four large murals or scale models representing portions of the lunar surface as seen from various altitudes. The pilot in the cockpit moved along a track past these murals which would accustom him to the visual cues for controlling a spacecraft in the vicinity of the moon. Unfortunately, such a simulation -- although great fun and quite aesthetic -- was not helpful because flight in lunar orbit posed no special problems other than the rendezvous with the LEM, which the device did not simulate. Not long after the end of Apollo, the expensive machine was dismantled."

In the video bellow you can see how the simulation supposedly looked like to the pilot in the cockpit:

Some more pictures from those years (around 1963) where you can see the artist recreating the lunar surface, the controls of the simulator and the 20-foot sphere which simulated for the astronauts what the surface of the moon would look like from 200 miles up.


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