reply posted on 15-12-2005 @ 08:44 PM by Shadowhawk
The LLRV information isn't on the Internet. It comes from the as yet unpublished manuscript.
The LLRV and LLTV accidents don't reflect on the success of the vehicles. Many well establihed operational aircraft crash, both military and
civilian. That doesn't mean they are unsuccessful. Accidents happen. The LLRV and LLTV were exotic research aircraft and were subject to a much
higher risk factor.
Three accidents out of nearly 800 flights isn't a bad ratio. There were several bad accidents (one fatal) and numerous minor incidents during the
X-15 program's 199 flights and it is considered the most successful research program of all time.
Armstrong's LLRV accident resulted from loss of helium pressure due to a propellant leak, and gusty wind conditions (something that wouldn't be a
problem on the Moon). For more details, see"First Man" by James R. Hansen, available in bookstores now.
In Hansen's authorized biography of Neil Armstrong, he has this important bit of information:
"The LLTV was widely regarded - and properly so - as a high-risk vehicle," Armstrong admits, "and one with which the management felt very
uncomfortable. But the pilots universally, although they may have not liked the vehicle or liked flying it, they all agreed that it was the best
simulation we had and gave us by far the highest confidence about what it was like to fly in the lunar environment."
After Joe Algranti's LLTV accident, MSC director Bob Gilruth and MSC director of flight operations Chris Kraft wanted to ground the vehicles. From
"Gilruth and I were ready to eliminate it completely," Kraft notes, "but the astronauts were adamant. they wanted the training it offered." Kraft
gave in, but he didn't give up. Even after the lunar landings began, either he or Gilruth "grilled every returning astronaut, hoping to find some
way to get the LLTV grounded forever." They lost every time, because the astronauts wanted it."To a man," Kraft recalls, "they said it was the
best training they received and was essential to landing on the Moon. So with our fingers crossed, we let them keep it."