It goes without saying that training/conditioning one's reflexes for a situation is highly relevant to some professions. Pilots train in a computer simulator.

During the Apollo missions computers were not as ubiquitous as they now are. The CSM could be, and was checked-out in Earth orbit.

The Lunar Module (LM) however was meant for a non-Earth environment; one which could probably not be simulated - yet it would have been necessary to give the astronauts a 'feel' of the craft in reduced gravity.

The mission commander for Apollo-11 apparently did such a great job with his manual landing the shock-absorbers failed to depress. This may be merely an urban legend ... but it does draw one's attention to the question -

How did the Apollo astronauts train to land the LM in the 1/6th lunar gravity?


1 Answer 1


They used the Lunar Landing Training Vehicle, as pictured below. This had a jet engine to provide 5/6 of the lift needed to hover the vehicle, plus rocket engines that simulated the LM's engines.
With the jet running, the LLTV felt like it weighed 1/6 of its actual weight, so it came pretty close to simulating moon gravity.

enter image description here

  • 19
    $\begingroup$ Truth in advertising: That thing looks just as dangerous as it actually was. $\endgroup$ Jul 20, 2017 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ Rockets or jets for the 5/6 thrust? $\endgroup$ Dec 2, 2019 at 5:40
  • $\begingroup$ Um, second sentence of my answer? " This had a jet engine to provide 5/6 of the lift" $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Dec 2, 2019 at 9:04
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WayneConrad Well, I don't know. After all, it has an ejection seat, that is not immediately obvious. OTOH, it was deangerous enough to test the seat in action, so... $\endgroup$
    – Frax
    May 17, 2023 at 10:49

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