|LEGO → System → Discovery|
The Apollo Lunar Module, or simply lunar module (LM, pronounced "lem"), originally designated the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM), was the lander spacecraft that was flown from lunar orbit to the Moon's surface during the U.S. Apollo program. It was the first crewed spacecraft to operate exclusively in the airless vacuum of space, and remains the only crewed vehicle to land anywhere beyond Earth. Structurally and aerodynamically incapable of flight through Earth's atmosphere, the two-stage lunar module was ferried to lunar orbit attached to the Apollo spacecraft command and service module (CSM), about twice its mass. Its crew of two flew the complete lunar module from lunar orbit to the surface and later flew the ascent stage back to the command module, whereupon it was discarded. Overseen by Grumman Aircraft, the LM's development was plagued with problems that delayed its first uncrewed flight by about ten months and its first crewed flight by about three months. Still, the LM eventually became the most reliable component of the Apollo/Saturn space vehicle, the only component never to suffer a failure that could not be corrected in time to prevent abort of a landing mission.
Ten lunar modules were launched into space. Of these, six landed humans on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. The first two launched were test flights in low Earth orbit—the first without a crew, the second with one. Another was used by Apollo 10 for a dress rehearsal flight in low lunar orbit, without landing. One lunar module functioned as a lifeboat for the crew of Apollo 13, providing life support and propulsion when their CSM was disabled by an oxygen tank explosion en route to the Moon, forcing the crew to abandon plans for landing. The total cost of the LM for development and the units produced was $21.3 billion in 2016 dollars, adjusting from a nominal total of $2.2 billion using the NASA New Start Inflation Indices. The six landed descent stages remain intact where they landed; one ascent stage (Apollo 10's) is in heliocentric orbit. All the other LMs that flew either crashed into the Moon or burned up in the Earth's atmosphere.
- The grey ascent stage can be detached from the descent stage and has a detailed interior.
- This is the only LEGO Discovery set that includes minifigures, as well as the only appearance of the torso pieces with the NASA astronaut pattern.
- This set saw somewhat of a remake in 2019 with the release of 10266 NASA Apollo 11 Lunar Lander for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.