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Russia mulls new-generation lunar lander

Around half a century after a first fruitless attempt to put a cosmonaut on the Moon, a new generation of Russian space engineers embarked on the development of a piloted lunar lander, in accordance with the nation's 10-year space plan starting in 2016. However, unlike the one-seat module of the first Moon Race, the future lander had to support long-term exploration of the Moon and deliver crew anywhere on the lunar surface.

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ortho

Russian lunar lander concept circa 2015.

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In 2015, after several years of preliminary studies, the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, made plans to begin funding the development of a lunar lander and associated systems which would be necessary to deliver crews from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon.

In the official documentation, the project was officially identified as Lunar Ascent and Descent Complex, LVPK.

According to the Russian lunar exploration plans circa 2015, the lander would be delivered to the lunar orbit by a dedicated rocket without a crew. It would then rendezvous and dock with a piloted transport vehicle in the lunar orbit. The lander would then deliver the crew to the surface and its ascent stage would carry cosmonauts back to the lunar orbit for a rendezvous with a transport vehicle for trip back to Earth.

Several concepts of the lunar lander were formulated in 2016. At the time, the spacecraft had the following specifications:

Specification
Initial version
Heavy version
Spacecraft mass in lunar orbit
20 tons
27 tons
Crew size
2 people
4 people
Cargo delivered to the lunar surface
100 kilograms
up to 625 kilograms
Flight duration in unmanned mode in lunar orbit
190 days
190 days
Duration on the surface of the Moon with crew
3 days
14 days
Number of supported person/EVAs
4
21
Diameter
5.5 meters
5.5 meters
Length
11 meters
11 meters

 

Proposed budget for the R&D work in the LVPK vehicle in the Federal Space Program, FKP-2016-2025 (in millions of rubles):

-
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022
2023
2024
2025
Total
Proposed budget*
5,114
7,260
8,182
7,921
7,734
6,800
5,272
4,317
4,597
3,567
60,764

*As of June-October 2014;

 

Comparison of lunar landers systems:

Specification

lm

LM (Saturn-Apollo)

surface

LK lander (N1-L3)

Altair

Altair (Constellation)

lvpk

Roskosmos (2015)

Lander

NASA (2019) (IC)

Liftoff mass
14.67 - 16.37 tons
5.56 tons*
45 tons
20 tons
45 tons****
Crew
2
1
4
3
3
Habitable volume
6.65 cubic meters
5 cubic meters
17.5 cubic meters**
16-25 cubic meters
?
Lunar surface access
Equatorial regions, Near side
Equatorial regions, Near side
Global
Global, including polar regions
Global, including polar regions
Surface duration with crew
3 days
1 day
4-7 days
up to 3
?
Maximum surface duration without crew
Up to 1
A few hours
Up to 210 days
Up to 14 days***
?
Payload to the lunar surface
Up to 300 kilograms
Less than 50 kilograms
No less than 500 kilograms
No less than 125 kilograms
?
Lunar samples delivered to lunar orbit
Approximately 120 kilograms
Less than 50 kilograms
No less than 100 kilograms
No less than 25 kilograms
?
Extra habitable volume
No
No
Airlock
No
?

*Not including Block D braking stage; **including airlock; ***Can be extended within lunar base operation; ****includes transfer stage, but does not include refueling tanker.

 

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Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: April 18, 2019

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: September 25, 2017

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LVPK

A notional concept of a lunar lander circa 2010.

Lunar Lander

This artist rendering depicts a concept of a lander used in the early planning of Russian lunar expeditions. The spacecraft is shown in the lunar orbit, preparing for descent on the surface. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2008 Anatoly Zak


Svobodny region

This artist rendering depicts a concept of a lander on the surface of the Moon. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2007 Anatoly Zak


LLO

PTK NP spacecraft would dock with lunar module in orbit around the Moon. Two crew members would then transfer into the lander for the final leg of the trip to the Moon. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2016 Anatoly Zak


lander

A lunar lander conceptualized during 2015 to be compatible with the Angara-5V rocket. Click to enlarge. Copyright © 2016 Anatoly Zak


LVPK

This artist rendering depicts one of several concepts of the lunar lander evaluated in 2016. Credit: RKK Energia


 

 

 

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