1961 – RCA “Praying Mantis” Moon Walker – (American)

Life62 Moon Rover RCA Praying Mantis x640 1961   RCA Praying Mantis Moon Walker   (American)

In the early ‘60s, as part of the preparations for the Apollo manned moon landing mission, the Jet Propulsion Lab planned a follow-on program to its very successful ‘hard’ landing ‘Ranger’ program, which gave the first close-up views of the moon’s surface. The proposed ‘soft’ lander program was called ‘Surveyor’. An initial concept was for it to disgorge a moon surface-traversing vehicle to conduct a neighborhood survey near its landing position. It was to be commanded by a TV – radio control guidance link. This link was to be relayed to and from the moon via the Surveyor’s earth communication system. A lunar rover competition was opened and by end of 1961 there were responses from at least 10 leading space firms including Space-General Corp., Sperry Rand, and RCA.
When it was determined that the Atlas rockets could not lift  the Surveyor with an added payload of a Lunar Rover, the project was discontinued.

Moon Robots PSMar62 praying mantis x640 1961   RCA Praying Mantis Moon Walker   (American)

From RCA's Astro-Electronics Division, Defence Electronics Products.

A 6-legged walker. What looks like a proboscis is soil-sampling drill; head is counterweight for it; and "feelers" are radio antennas.

RCA Lunar Rovers Praying Mantis model x640 1961   RCA Praying Mantis Moon Walker   (American)

 


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