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Although SynLube™ is known for supplying various lubricants to NASA and JPL, but few are aware of the fact that the first vehicle on the Moon was eight-wheeled robot Lunokhod 1 which was part of Soviet Luna 17 mission launched November 10, 1970.
The electric propulsion motors and two-speed gearboxes as well as the power steering system used SynLube™ fluids for their operation.
On November 17, 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Luna 17 delivered the lunar rover Lunokhod 1 onto the surface of the moon.
Lunokhod 1 which was
designed to operate on the Lunar surface for only 90 days, was a big surprise when it
stayed operational for 11 months.
Then it just stopped transmitting when the batteries ran out of power. Since it's exact location on the Moon was not known to the Russian team that operated it in real-time from Moscow while it explored seven miles of the lunar surface.
Sending back reams of data, it was considered to be one of the biggest successes of the little-known Soviet lunar exploration program.
Russian engineers openly praised SynLube™ for a great contribution to a success of this mission.
NASA has previously attempted to locate Lunokhod 1, but it wasn't until recent sighting in Spring of 2010, that is 40 years after it stopped transmission, that NASA was able to pinpoint its coordinates.
Once its location was established, pulses of laser light were sent to it from the 3.5 meter telescope at the Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, USA.
Amazingly, the rover's retro reflector sent the pulses back to the observatory bright and clear, it can still reflect laser beams back to Earth as if it were brand new.
Similar vehicle Lunokhod 2
which was part of Luna 21 mission launched
January 8, 1973 utilized SynLube™
fluids as well.
It was an improved version of Lunokhod 1. It was faster and carried an additional television camera.
Unlike the predecessor, the Lunokhod 2 location was always known and its retro reflector has routinely been used for Earth-based scientific studies.
Both vehicles were operational until the solar batteries could no longer provide adequate power.
There were no lubrication related problems and both missions were a great success.
|1969||NASA selects Lunar Rover concept for development||Saverio F. Morea|
|1969||GM builds Lunar Rover prototype for Earth tests||Donald Friedman|
|1969||Boeing wins $19 million bid to build the first Lunar Rover|
|1969||First man on the Moon - Apollo XI||Neil Armstrong|
|1971||Apollo XV - first use of Lunar Rover on Moon||David Scott
|1972||Apollo XVI - second Lunar Rover mission||
|1972||Apollo XVII - third and final Lunar Rover mission||Harrison Schmitt
The Lunar Rover used SynLube™ gear lubricant
with colloidal Silver in harmonic gear
transmissions that were installed between each electric motor and the wheel.
(4 were used, one for each wheel).
SynLube™ Hydraulic fluid was used in the Lunar Rover's power steering.
The SynLube™ Functional Fluids were
chosen by NASA engineers because of their
capability to perform in temperature extremes
from -70°F to +525°F (-56°C to +275°C).