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Héroux-Devtek: First to Touch the Moon

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    Heroux-Devtek - Man on MoonTo achieve its goal of putting a man on the Moon in the 1960s, NASA set out to build an entirely new and untested spaceship. The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) would be the first vehicle to land humans on a surface beyond that of the Earth – and Canada’s Héroux-Devtek would provide the landing system.

    Landing the Lunar Module on the surface of the Moon would be one of the most important events of the Apollo program. During the critical seconds at touchdown, the LM landing system would need to bring the vehicle to rest, prevent toppling, absorb the landing impact energy and limit the loads induced on the spacecraft’s structure. The landing gear would also need to provide a stable launch platform for lift-off when it came time for the astronauts to return home.

    In addition to these engineering challenges, Héroux-Devtek faced a tight timeline. NASA was under pressure to “beat” the Russians to the Moon and reach John F. Kennedy’s goal of successfully landing on the moon before the end of the decade, which was just a few  years away.

    Heroux-Devtek - Lunar ModuleHéroux-Devtek successfully manufactured and delivered the landing gear systems used in all six lunar landings. The Canadian-built landing systems performed flawlessly on the Moon – even when the Apollo 15 Lunar Module landed on the rim of a small crater and came to rest with a 10 degree tilt.

    Today, Héroux-Devtek’s hardware can still be found at six locations on the Moon. While no longer operational, the landing equipment is fully intact and serves as a lasting testament to Canadian ingenuity and Canada’s space systems expertise.

    To learn more about Héroux-Devtek, visit its AIAC Member Profile and the Héroux-Devtek website.