The Apollo Lunar Module (LM), also known as the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander portion of the Apollo spacecraft built for the US Apollo program by Grumman to carry a crew of two from lunar orbit to the surface and back. Six such craft successfully landed on the Moon between 1969–1972.
The LM, consisting of an Ascent stage and Descent stage, was ferried to lunar orbit by its companion Command/Service Module (CSM), a separate spacecraft of approximately twice its mass, which took the astronauts home to Earth. After completing its mission, the LM was discarded. In one sense it was the world's first true spacecraft in that it was capable of operation only in outer space, structurally and aerodynamically incapable of flight through the Earth's atmosphere.
The LM got a later start on its design than the CSM, due to the initial unpopularity of the lunar orbit rendezvous strategy. Its development was also plagued with several hurdles which delayed its first unmanned flight by about ten months, and its first manned flight by about three months. Despite this, the LM eventually became the most reliable component of the Apollo/Saturn system, the only one never to suffer any failure that significantly impacted a mission, and in at least one instance (LM-7 Aquarius) greatly exceeded its design requirements by maintaining life support for astronauts after an explosion damaged the Apollo Service Module.
Lunar Modules produced
|Serial number||Name||Use||Launch date||Current location|
|LM-1||Apollo 5||January 22, 1968||Reentered Earth's atmosphere|
|LM-2||Intended for second unmanned flight; not used||On display at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington, DC|
|LM-3||Spider||Apollo 9||March 3, 1969||Reentered Earth's atmosphere|
|LM-4||Snoopy||Apollo 10||May 18, 1969||Descent stage impacted Moon; Ascent stage in solar orbit. Snoopy is the only surviving flown LM ascent stage.|
|LM-5||Eagle||Apollo 11||July 16, 1969||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage left in lunar orbit (orbit decayed: impact location on moon unknown)|
|LM-6||Intrepid||Apollo 12||November 14, 1969||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage deliberately crashed into Moon|
|LM-7||Aquarius||Apollo 13||April 11, 1970||Reentered Earth's atmosphere|
|LM-8||Antares||Apollo 14||January 31, 1971||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage deliberately crashed into Moon|
|LM-9||Not flown (originally intended as Apollo 15, last H-class mission)||On display at the Kennedy Space Center (Apollo/Saturn V Center)|
|LM-10||Falcon||Apollo 15, first ELM||July 26, 1971||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage deliberately crashed into Moon|
|LM-11||Orion||Apollo 16||April 16, 1972||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage left in lunar orbit, eventually crashed on Moon|
|LM-12||Challenger||Apollo 17||December 7, 1972||Descent stage on lunar surface; Ascent stage deliberately crashed into Moon|
|LM-13||Not flown (originally intended as Apollo 18)||Partially completed by Grumman; restored and on display at Cradle of Aviation Museum, Long Island, New York. Also used during HBO's 1998 mini-series From the Earth to the Moon.|
|LM-14||Not flown (originally intended as Apollo 19)||Never completed; unconfirmed reports claim that some parts (in addition to parts from test vehicle LTA-3) are included in LM on display at the Franklin Institute, Philadelphia (see Franklin Institute web page.)|
|LM-15||Not flown (might have been Apollo Telescope Mount)||Scrapped|