A 1/6-scale model of the lunar lander has been prototyped for drop testing at Carnegie Mellon University. The investigation is inspired by an Apollo-era study, “Evaluation of a Full-Scale and a Lunar-Gravity Simulator by Comparison of Landing-Impact Tests of a Full-Scale and a 1/6-Scale Model”. By scaling linear dimensions with the ratio of Moon/Earth gravity, then time scales by the same ratio, and velocity is invariant at both scales.
The drop rig consists of a stand with an adjustable height and a four bar mechanism with pitch adjustment to give an initial angle and horizontal velocity to the lander while keeping the orientation the same throughout the swing. An electromagnet with a switch is attached to the four bar swing as a quick release to drop the lander.
Experiments dropped the level lander onto level surface, angled lander onto level surface, and angled velocity onto level surface.
Tests determine that the lander is very stable and that the crush-stoke of honeycomb material is sufficient for all flat-landing scenarios.