Polaris Industries employees volunteered their time to work with a NASA astronaut and members of the original Apollo 11 Lunar Rover Vehicle (LRV) team to build a replica of the surface vehicle that landed on the moon July 16, 1969.
With two notable exceptions, most of the components used to construct the Polaris Lunar Rover Replica (PLRR) came from parts bins of Polaris vehicle lines. Polaris Slingshots, RZRs, Indian motorcycles, ATVs, side-by-sides, Electric GEMs, Polaris snowmobiles, and Polaris military vehicles were among the donor vehicles.
The fenders and steering systems are not Polaris parts, but each has a history with the original. Polaris used the 50-year-old molds from the original Apollo LRV to mold the replica’s fenders. The PLRR has four-wheel Ackermann steering, again the same as the NASA Lunar Rover Vehicle.
“Having the opportunity to honor legends, work with members of the original crew and lend our expertise and technologies to build this Lunar Rover Replica has been incredible,” said Bryan Ogle, manager of manufacturing at Polaris. “One of the coolest things was being able to mold the fiberglass fenders using the original 50-year-old molds. And now seeing it in action, riding it, it’s amazing.”
The replica is a drivable vehicle that accelerates, steers, and stops. Without mentioning specific speeds, Polaris claims the replica “is much faster than the original.”
During the past week, the Polaris Lunar Rover Replica appeared at several events near the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (USSRC) in Huntsville, Alabama to honor and celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission.
If you’d like to see the PLRR in person, two more appearances are scheduled, so far, both in Alabama. On September 19, 2019, the replica will be at the Huntsville Public Library for LRV History. The PLRR will also take a lap around Alabama’s Talladega Speedway in October.
Polaris also stated appreciation to the NASA LRV team: “Special thanks to the original rover team on sharing the marvels of engineering that have remained inspirational generations later. The Polaris Lunar Rover Replica not only pays tribute to the marvels of engineering, but it will also inspire the dreamers and builders of generations to come.”
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