Kent-made Lunar Roving Vehicles designated as historical landmarks

Three of NASA’s Lunar Rovers that drove on the moon have now been designated as historical landmarks.

The King County Landmark Commission made the unanimous decision on the eve of the 48th anniversary of the Apollo 15 launch.

Lunar rovers for the Apollo 15, 16, and 17 missions were all made by Boeing in Kent.

“It looked like a golf cart, or a stripped-down dune buggy, but was an engineering marvel,” wrote Boeing officials on a site dedicated to the Lunar Roving Vehicle. “Equipped with a color television camera able to send images back to Earth via satellite, it traveled about 10 mph (16 kph), carried four times its own weight and had woven piano-wire mesh-like wheels to negotiate the strange lunar surface.”

The commission met in Kent to hear why they’re so important to the city.

“Landmarking the lunar rovers serves to recognize the hundreds of the Boeing employees and other companies that contributed to this amazing engineering feat,” said Kent Mayor Dana Ralph.

The lunar rover vehicles were the first moon buggies allowing humans to explore the moon’ s surface.

“We went to the moon and we drove a vehicle — 3 of them on the moon,” Ralph said. “That is a pretty incredible thing. It’s an amazing part of our history that unfortunately a lot of people don’t know.”

The rovers to this day remain untouched on the moon ever since, “awaiting the next generation of astronauts,” Boeing says.

But while they still await the next explorers, its legacy lives on back on Earth. Boeing says the LRV technology was used to evolve motorized wheelchairs.


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