[graphic] Aviation: From Sand Dunes to Sonic Booms A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
 [graphic]  Link to Aviation Home  [graphic] Link to List of Sites  [graphic] Link to Map  [graphic] Link to Essays  [graphic] Link to Learn More  [graphic] Link to Itineraries  [graphic] Link to NR Home

[graphic] Link to Previous Site

[graphic] Title of Property
[graphic] Link to Next Site

Rendezvous Docking Simulator suspended from the roof of the Langley Research Center's hangar, 1964

Photo courtesy of NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) used the Rendezvous Docking Simulator at the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, to train Gemini and Apollo astronauts in docking procedures they had to master before attempting to land on the moon. NASA engineers decided that the best method of accomplishing President Kennedy's goal of a moon landing by 1969 was through a lunar orbit rendezvous (LOR). The LOR called for a single Saturn V launch of two spacecraft into lunar orbit. One would remain in orbit while the other would descend to the moon and then boost itself back into lunar orbit, rendezvous and dock with the mother ship before returning to earth. To accomplish this task it was essential that Apollo astronauts be trained in all aspects and problems likely to arise in an attempt to dock the Apollo Command and Lunar Excursion Modules in lunar orbit. Failure to dock would result in the failure of the entire mission and the likely loss of the lives of the astronauts. The Rendezvous Docking Simulator gave the astronauts the experience of docking the spacecraft in a safe environment that closely resembled a space environment. Only when the Apollo astronauts had successfully mastered rendezvous and docking skills in the Rendezvous Docking Simulator would NASA give permission for the attempt to land on the moon.

[photo] Practicing lunar-orbit rendezvous with the help of the Rendezvous Docking Simulato, 1964r

Following the completion of the Apollo program, the Rendezvous Docking Simulator was modified to solve open-and-closed loop pilot control problems, aircraft landing approaches, simulator validation studies and passenger ride quality studies. The name of the facility was changed to the Real-Time Dynamic Simulator. At present, this facility is inactive.

The Rendezvous Docking Simulator, a National Historic Landmark, at Langley Research Center is located at 100 NASA Rd. in Hampton, Virginia. It is closed to the public. Please visit Langley's website for further information.

 [graphic] Idea of Flight Essay  [graphic] Wright Brothers Essay  [graphic] Aviation Pioneers Essay  [graphic] Modern Aviation Essay  [graphic] Air Power Essay [graphic] Space Essay

Aviation Home | List of Sites | Maps| Learn More | Itineraries | NR HomeNext Site
Essays: Idea of Flight | Wright Brothers | Aviation Pioneers| Modern Aviation| | Air Power | Space |

Comments or Questions



[graphic] National Park Service Arrowhead and link to nps.gov