From 1961 to 1972, Grumman employees, based in Bethpage, NY, designed, assembled and tested the Grumman Lunar Module that successfully landed 12 men on the moon between 1969 and 1972.
In all, six Lunar Modules landed on the moon. Three remaining original Lunar Modules that did not go to the moon, are still in existence today and are prominently housed at the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum in Washington D.C., the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City.
The “crowned jewel” of the Cradle, the LM-13 was intended for the Apollo 19 mission to Copernicus Crater in 1973, which was ultimately cancelled.
It is presented in a re-created lunar surface scene as part of an exciting multi-media program. A mannequin wearing an actual Apollo spacesuit is about to step off, the spacecraft, so visitors will feel as thy are there as an astronaut makes “one small step”. A simulated lunar surface, suspended Earth, and theatrical lighting complete the scene.
Designed solely for the one-sixth gravity and vacuum of the Moon, it had to be a new type of spacecraft, unlike anything that had every been built. The design went through several configurations over the years to save weight and consider unknown Lunar conditions and kept evolving through each successive mission. It had to be small enough to fit inside the Saturn V rocket and light enough to be launched into space. It had four widely-spaced legs so it couldn’t tip over and big footpads so it wouldn’t sink.