Encyclopedia Astronautica
Lunokhod LEK

Lunokhod LEK
Credit: © Mark Wade
Soviet Lunar Landers
Landing stages for Soviet lunar expeditions. Top row, left to right: L3 original version; LK; LK-3; LK-700; two versions of the L3M; LEK for Energia-launched lunar landing. Bottom row, lunar base elements: Chelomei KLE; Chelomei Heavy Lunokhod; Barmin DLB base module; LZM, LZhM, Lunokhod, and LEK for Glushko LEK Vulkan-launched lunar base.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Lunokhod LEK
Credit: © Mark Wade
Lunokhod DLB
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned lunar rover. Study 1973. Lunar rover for the Vulkan Lunar Expedition. The rover provided pressurized quarters for 2 crew, allowing trips up to 200 km from the lunar base at a top speed of 5 km/hr.

The 2.25 metric ton generating station provided 8 kW of solar power to run the motor. Each 12 day trip would use 200 kg of life support consumables.

Crew Size: 2. Habitable Volume: 25.00 m3. Electric System: 8.00 average kW.

Gross mass: 8,200 kg (18,000 lb).
Height: 8.00 m (26.20 ft).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • LEK Lunar Expeditionary Complex Russian manned lunar base. Cancelled 1974. Although the N1, L3, and DLB projects were cancelled, Glushko still considered the establishment of a moon base to be a primary goal for his country. More...

See also
  • Lunar Rovers Lunar rovers were studied in a dizzying variety of sizes and shapes by NASA in the 1960's - including crawlers, trains, hoppers, and even worms. Two rovers designed for manned use actually traveled the lunar surface in the 1970's - the American two-man Lunar Rover, and the Soviet Lunokhod, which traveled the moon in robotic mode but was originally designed as emergency cosmonaut transportation. More...
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Vulkan Super heavy-lift version of Energia with six strap-on boosters, and in-line upper stages and payloads. The concept was put on the back burner when Energia / Buran development begun. More...
  • Energia The Energia-Buran Reusable Space System (MKS) began development in 1976 as a Soviet booster that would exceed the capabilities of the US shuttle system. Following extended development, Energia made two successful flights in 1987-1988. But the Soviet Union was crumbling, and the ambitious plans to build an orbiting defense shield, to renew the ozone layer, dispose of nuclear waste, illuminate polar cities, colonize the moon and Mars, were not to be. Funding dried up and the Energia-Buran program completely disappeared from the government's budget after 1993. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.

Lunokhod LEK Chronology

1975 January 1 - . LV Family: N1; RLA.
  • Vulkan Lunar Base - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Barmin; Glushko; Bushuyev. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LZhM; LZM; Lunokhod LEK; LEK. Mishin and Barmin, using budget provided by the Ministry of Defence, had designed a lunar base for launch by the N1 in 1969-1974. After the cancellation of the N1, Glushko pleaded with the Military-Industrial Commission for the work to be taken from Barmin and be given to NPO Energia. Glushko's alternative, Vulkan-launched base was elaborated within his bureau. Bushuyev developed spacecraft for the base. Prudnikova developed a modular lunar city, with living modules, factory modules, a nuclear reactor power module, and a lunar crawler with a 200 km radius of action. The project work was only finally cancelled after the Apollo-Soyuz flights.

1977 December 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Glushko uninterested in further lunar base work - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Bushuyev. Spacecraft: Buran; LZhM; LZM; Lunokhod LEK; LEK. Bushuyev tells Chertok that the lunar base work did not interest Glushko. The VPK Military-Industrial Commission was only interested in duplicating the American shuttle, not in any other ventures in space. With the N1-Sr booster, Russia could have had a six man lunar base established with 8 to 10 launches in the late 1970's. Bushuyev died on 26 October 1978, having seen his dream completely tossed away.

1978 January 1 - . LV Family: Energia; RLA.
  • Vulkan Lunar Base rejected - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Glushko. Spacecraft: LZhM; LZM; Lunokhod LEK; LEK. An expert commission led by Keldysh examines the plan for a lunar base launched by the Vulkan booster. The plan is completely rejected. NPO Energia was told to quit dreaming and devote itself only to projects with national economic importance, like Buran. This put a definitive end to Glushko's lunar base projects studied in 1976-1978. But he just waited and started design work again on a lunar base using the Energia launch vehicle after the first Buran launch in 1988.

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