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lunar lifeboat




lunar lifeboat (plural lunar lifeboats)

  1. (space sciences) In the US Apollo moon program, a lunar module repurposed as a makeshift shelter for an astronaut crew returning to earth after a mishap necessitating cancellation of a moon landing; the emergency procedure of using the lunar module in this manner.
    • 1970, James A. Lovell, "The Flight of Apollo 13—A Successful Failure," Society of Experimental Test Pilots Technical Review, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 130 (Google search result) (retrieved 30 July 2015):
      At 141 hours and 30 minutes, the Lunar Module, Aquarius, after successfully fulfilling its contingency role as a Lunar Lifeboat, was jettisoned in preparation for the final plunge into the Earth's atmosphere.
    • 1970 Sept., Steven Morris, "How Blacks View Mankind's “GIANT STEP”," Ebony, p. 35 (Google preview) (retrieved 30 July 2015):
      As the "lunar lifeboat" neared the Earth, the hard problem loomed of how to separate the vehicles before they entered the atmosphere.
    • 2012 Sep. 13, Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, "Sermon," Washington National Cathedral (retrieved 30 July 2015):
      [T]he world held its collective breath as the astronauts of Apollo 13 climbed into their lunar lifeboat Aquarius and safely returned to earth.

Usage notesEdit

  • Almost always used in reference to the Apollo 13 mission (1970), the only real-world instance in which a lunar lifeboat was used.