Encyclopedia Astronautica
KLE Complex Lunar Expedition

Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned lunar base. Chelomei's design for a lunar base, studied 1964 to 1974 as a UR-700-launched predecessor or alternative to Barmin's DLB.

Chelomei's design for a lunar base, studied in 1964 to 1974 as a UR-700-launched predecessor or alternative to Barmin's DLB.

Following initial LK-700 landings the KLE Complex Lunar Expedition would be delivered to the surface. This would permit long duration investigations of the surface and a much wider range of research. Precision landings in support of the KLE and lunar base would use Ye-8 Lunokhods equipped with radio homing beacons. The complex would be delivered in two to three UR-700 launches:

  • Launch 1: Heavy Unpiloted Station - a one-way flight to deliver a 15 metric ton lunar station to the surface.
  • Launch 2: LK-700 spacecraft with crew. The LK-700 would provide return transportation and was capable of being placed in dormant mode for a month.
  • Launch 3: A 15 metric ton Lunar laboratory / Heavy Lunokhod combination would be landed to provide mobility for surface expeditions.

Three to six months of operations would be conducted on the lunar surface. It was recommended that a reserve LK-700 lander be standing ready for launch in case of emergencies or stranding of the crew on the surface.

The later DLB lunar base being designed by Barmin would require 80 metric tons per year of payload delivered to the surface starting in 1975, followed by 150 metric tons per year after 1980. Versions of the UR-700/LK-700 could handle this more easily than modifying the N1.

Lunar versions of the Almaz OPS would be placed in lunar orbit to conduct detailed reconnaissance of the surface using manned assistance. The OPS would also be used as a command post to co-ordinate the work of lunar surface operations and organize rescues in the case of emergencies on the surface.

Chelomei's bureau continued to study the concept until 1974, when the project was finally and definitively suppressed with the cancellation of the N1 and the lunar base projects.


Crew Size: 3.

Gross mass: 30,000 kg (66,000 lb).

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Lunar Bases The Lunar Base never seemed to be a high priority to space visionaries, who were mainly interested in getting on to Mars. It was usually seen as a proving ground for Mars vehicle technology, or as a place to mine propellant for use in a larger space infrastructure. More...

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

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