Encyclopedia Astronautica
LESA Shelter

LESA Shelter
Credit: © Mark Wade
LESA Lander
Credit: NASA
Lunar Exploration
Lunar Exploration Plans
Credit: © Mark Wade
Post-Apollo lunar
Comparison of American post-Apollo lunar spacecraft.
Credit: © Mark Wade
LESA Lunar Base
Credit: © Mark Wade
American manned lunar habitat. Study 1966. LESA (Lunar Exploration System for Apollo) was an advanced lunar surface shelter.

It would provide the maximum Saturn V-launched lunar base module by using a high efficiency LLV Lunar Landing Vehicle which used RL10 Lox/LH2 engines for the direct landing on the lunar surface. The LESA consisted of a circular inner cabin and annular outer cabin with control stations, bunks, and an airlock.

The LLV would deliver the LESA together with a Molab lunar rover on the surface of the moon. Crews to man the base would be landed in 3-man LM Taxis. The crews would use the LESA Shelter for quarters, and the pressurized Molab for mobility. Initially the shelter would be manned by 3 crew members for 90 days. Follow-on flights would build up the base to six residents for indefinite lunar operations.


Crew Size: 6. Habitable Volume: 80.00 m3.

AKA: Lunar Exploration System for Apollo.
Gross mass: 9,700 kg (21,300 lb).
Height: 4.30 m (14.10 ft).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • LESA Lunar Base American manned lunar base. Cancelled 1968. LESA (Lunar Exploration System for Apollo) represented the ultimate lunar base concept studied by NASA prior to the cancellation of further Saturn V production in June 1968. More...

See also
  • Lunar Habitats Lunar habitats were usually for early lunar exploration or as modules for fixed-location base buildup. Mobile habitats were the more logical solution for extended exploration (see Lunar Rovers). More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Saturn V American orbital launch vehicle. America's booster for the Apollo manned lunar landing. The design was frozen before a landing mode was selected; the Saturn V could be used for either Earth-Orbit-Rendezvous or Lunar-Orbit-Rendezvous methods. The vehicle ended up with the same payload capability as the 'too large' Nova. The basic diameter was dictated by the ceiling height at the Michoud factory selected for first stage manufacture. More...

  • Baker, David, The History of Manned Spaceflight, Crown, New York, 1981.
  • Henderson, C William, "Extended Lunar Exploration", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964, p 615.
  • National Space Goals for Post-Apollo Period, House of Representatives Hearings, 1965.
  • Arthur, George R, "Lunar Spacecraft Designs", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Volume 10, 1963, p. 52.
  • Salter, Thomas R, "Advanced Lunar Transportation Systems", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964 / NASA Contract NAS8-5027.
  • Evans, Thomas C, "Extended Lunar Exploration", Advanced in the Astronautical Sciences, Vol 18, 1964, p 480.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.

LESA Shelter Chronology

1969 September 1 - .
  • Soviets study NASA's ambitious plans - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: LESA Shelter; LLV. NASA gave the US President a 130-page programme outlining plans for America's future space programme. The thing read to the Soviets like a science fiction novel, with reusable space ferries, huge orbital stations and lunar bases, nuclear rocket stages, and manned Mars expeditions. There was no way the Soviet Union could compete with such a programme -- and that was leaving unconsidered the massive American military space progamme. Additional Details: here....

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