Lrv Bound For The Moon With Apollo

"When this program was all over," said Morea, "although Boeing did indeed - as we suspected they might - overrun about 100 per cent on the cost, the remarkable thing was that there were but eight change orders over the entire life of the program. It was seventeen months from the time we signed the contract at Boeing to the day we delivered flight hardware - man-rated - to the Cape. I am very proud of that accomplishment, and Boeing and GM deserve a lot of the credit for stepping up to the plate and making it happen."

"It was a rush program," Pavlics stated in defense of GM's efforts in the development of the LRV, "and at the peak of activity, we had as many as 400 people working just on the GM side of the program. Of course, we did a lot of testing because it was a man-rated system. Therefore, all the reliability and quality requirements which applied to Apollo also applied to this Lunar Rover.''

Morea believed that Boeing's original financial number for delivering the LRV

was inadequate, and MSFC had secretly budgeted accordingly. The final cost of the LRV program - nearly $40 million - was very close to what MSFC was prepared to pay to get its vehicle. The world only had to wait for the LM Falcon to land at Hadley-Apennine and for LRV-1 to help unfold the mysteries that awaited. However, there was an unseen cost, one that didn't show up on the financial books. Many engineers and program managers involved with all aspects of project Apollo can recall to this day the toll it took on their health, their family lives, and in many cases their marriages. At the same time, however, they also recall those hectic, taxing years as some of the most rewarding of their lives. Pavlics spoke for many when he recalled the frantic activity at GM's Defense Research Laboratories in Santa Barbara and the rush to develop, test and deliver the crucial subsystems of the LRV.

"The most rewarding part for me,'' Pavlics clearly remembered, "was that the teamwork was so excellent. Everyone was pulling for the project, for its success. I didn't hear a single complaint about overtime or working on weekends. Everyone was enthused and excited about the program. I think that made it possible to complete it in such a short time.''

With the acceptance of LRV-1 for Apollo 15 by Marshall Space Flight Center, Boeing proceeded with completion of LRV-2 for Apollo 16 and LRV-3 for Apollo 17. The speed with which the Lunar Roving Vehicle was proposed, designed, built, tested and delivered was indeed unprecedented within the Apollo program. By comparison, the astronaut Personal Life Support System (PLSS) took seventy months and the Apollo spacesuit took sixty months. In the end, the LRV performed up to and beyond expectations and accomplished the goal of vastly expanding the manned exploration of the Moon.

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