Encyclopedia Astronautica
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Lunokhod LEK
Part of L5 Family
Lunokhod LEK
Lunokhod LEK
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.

AKA: Manned Vulkan-launched version. Status: Study 1973. Gross mass: 8,200 kg (18,000 lb). Height: 8.00 m (26.20 ft).

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.

Family: Lunar Rovers, Moon. Country: Russia. Spacecraft: LEK Lunar Expeditionary Complex. Launch Vehicles: Energia, Vulkan. Agency: Korolev bureau. Bibliography: 367, 89.


Photo Gallery

Soviet Lunar LandersSoviet 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 LEKLunokhod LEK
Credit: © Mark Wade


Lunokhod DLBLunokhod DLB
Credit: © Mark Wade



1975 January 1 - .
  • Vulkan Lunar Base - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Barmin, Bushuyev, Glushko, Mishin. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LEK, Lunokhod LEK, LZhM, LZM.

    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: Russia. Related Persons: Bushuyev. Spacecraft: Buran, LEK, Lunokhod LEK, LZhM, LZM.

    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 - .
  • Vulkan Lunar Base rejected - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Glushko, Keldysh. Spacecraft: LEK, Lunokhod LEK, LZhM, LZM.

    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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