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Langley Research Center

Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA is where the initial work on Project Mercury and the manned space flight program was done. By 1961, much of this effort was moved the the Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) in Houston, TX.

Of course, Langley continues on as a NASA center. Langley is home to the Lunar Landing Research Facility, an A-frame steel structure 400 feet long and 230 feet high (Google Maps has a good aerial view of it). It was used during the Apollo era to train astronauts in the Lunar Excursion Module Simulator, a trainer which was suspended from the LLRF. The Flying Lunar Excursion Experimental Platform (FLEEP) was also designed to be suspended from the LLRF.

Langley maintains a detailed Project Apollo history page and a "landmarks" page, both with more information on the LLRF The LLRF is also a National Historic Landmark. Its National Register of Historic Places nomination form (direct link to 573K PDF) contains additional information about it, and the accompanying photos (direct link to 1.1M PDF) are also online. Finally, details of its operation can be found in the Operational Features of the Langley Lunar Landing Research Facility.

The Lunar Landing Research Facility has been renamed the Landing and Impact Research Facility (LandIR/Gantry), and underwent renovation in the summer of 2007.

Langley no longer has a visitor center on site (the Virginia Air & Space Center serves as Langley's VC), but it does maintain a home page.

Google Maps view.

With the post-9/11 paranoia, I didn't want to take too many pictures or be too obvious doing so, so I just have pictures I took from the road.

 

On the Road

Langley Research Center