Encyclopedia Astronautica

LEAP Profile
Lunar Escape Ambulance and Pickup mission profile.
Lunar Escape Ambulance and close orbit Pickup design.
American manned lunar flyer. Study 1961. LEAP was an early 1960's British design for getting disabled astronauts on the lunar surface quickly to lunar orbit for ferrying home.

The disabled crew member would be laid horizontally in a cylindrical pressurized capsule. Guidance was by a simple timer. At the necessary moment before the rescue craft passed overhead, the engine on the litter would ignite and send it straight up for 56 seconds, attaining a velocity sufficient to reach the fixed 61 km altitude of the rescue craft orbit. The nozzle would then swivel and fire along the long axis of the litter, accelerating it to the 1570 m/s orbital velocity of the rescue craft. Rendezvous operations and transfer of the crew were up to the rescue craft.

Crew Size: 1. Habitable Volume: 0.50 m3. Spacecraft delta v: 2,130 m/s (6,980 ft/sec).

AKA: Lunar Escape Ambulance and close orbit Pickup.
Gross mass: 292 kg (643 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 122 kg (268 lb).
Payload: 98 kg (216 lb).
Height: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Span: 1.30 m (4.20 ft).
Thrust: 2.88 kN (648 lbf).
Specific impulse: 249 s.

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Lunar Flyers Lunar flyers would use rocket power to get crew or cargo quickly from one point on the lunar surface to another. The larger versions could act as rescue vehicles to get crew members to lunar orbit for pick-up and return to earth. Their horrendous fuel requirements meant that they were mainly considered for one-use rescue missions - for example to return a crew from a disabled lunar rover, beyond walking distance back to their lander. Some Apollo variants proposed using leftover propellant from the Lunar Module descent stage to fuel such flyers. More...

Associated Propellants
  • N2O4/UDMH Nitrogen tetroxide became the storable liquid propellant of choice from the late 1950's. Unsymmetrical Dimethylhydrazine ((CH3)2NNH2) became the storable liquid fuel of choice by the mid-1950's. Development of UDMH in the Soviet Union began in 1949. It is used in virtually all storable liquid rocket engines except for some orbital manoeuvring engines in the United States, where MMH has been preferred due to a slightly higher density and performance. More...

  • Carton, D S, "LEAP", Technology of Lunar Exploration, 1961.

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