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Russia mulls new-generation lunar lander

Half a century after a first fruitless attempt, a new generation of Russian space engineers will embark on the development of a piloted lunar lander, according to the nation's 10-year space plan beginning in 2016. However, unlike the one-seat module of the first Moon Race, the 25-ton future lander would be designed to carry as many as four cosmonauts to the lunar surface and back and eventually serve as a reusable shuttle craft to the lunar orbit!

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ortho

Russian lunar lander concept circa 2015.

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In 2015, after several years of preliminary studies within the space industry, the Russian space agency, Roskosmos, prepared to start funding the development of a lunar ascent and descent complex, LVPK, essentially, a lunar lander which would deliver crews from lunar orbit to the surface of the Moon.

According to the current vision of the Russian lunar exploration program, 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.

One of several concepts of the lunar lander was 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
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;

Read (and see) much more about the history of the Russian space program in a richly illustrated, large-format glossy edition:

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Page author: Anatoly Zak; Last update: September 27, 2017

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


LVPK

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

 

 

 

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