ARO Lunar Operations Vehicle
by RundownPear
uploaded 2020-01-03
stock+DLC ship


Disclaimer: The vehicle requires several advanced maneuvers like suborbital docking and the lander has very low TWR making it tricky to land for new players.

The ARO (Aerospace Research Organization) was contracted by the Southern Federation to design a lunar landing system to match the Kerbal Space Program’s capabilities. It successfully landed the first crews on Minimus while the KSP was still developing their new infrastructure and focusing on interplanetary exploration. This has led to a race for the KSP to catch up with ARO after decommissioning their former lunar transportation vehicle. They developed the Lunar Operations Vehicle (LOV) by combining and orbital crew transport with a large descent stage. This created a truly unique vehicle.

The LOV is both Mun and Minimus capable and is designed to support mission profiles up to 28 days long. It has a orbital stage, a landing / ascent stage, an orbital insertion stage, and a separate return craft. It is capable of flying up too 3 crew but only requires 1 pilot to operate. The landing module includes a separate cockpit to allow for better visibility, orientation, and control on landing and ascent. After ascent, it separates from the core landing stage and is kept with the return capsule until reentry to give the crew extra space.

The LOV is launched on ARO’s flagship rocket, the MLV (Modular Launch Vehicle) in its 1.1.2 configuration (1 upper stage, 2 SRBs). It is mounted high above the launch pad to enable pad aborts. The higher altitude compensates for weaker parachutes.

The vehicle is based off of the Soviet 19k and 21k lunar architecture from 1961. This concept was an answer to NASA’s initial Nova direct ascent design for Apollo. A large descent stage would be launched by an N1 and then a L3 (Soyuz) spacecraft would dock to the descent / ascent stage. It would then be refueled by two 21k refueling craft launched by separate N1 vehicles. It would than depart on a direct ascent mission profile. ->

Flight Profile

  • Launch to a altitude of 500 km
  • Stage and dock the return capsule with the landing stage while on a sub-orbital trajectory
  • Orbital insertion, should only take 200 m/s of d/v from the second stage leaving enough fuel for TLI
  • TLI burn
  • Use landing module to enter lunar orbit
  • Deorbit and ditch the first set of tanks
  • Land
  • Use large stage for most of ascent, use core stage for last portion
  • To enter orbit, burn the core landing stage and release the drop tanks if and when necessary
  • Detach everything except the lander can as that has you communication equipment and use the return craft to enter a return trajectory
  • Make sure all crew is in the return capsule and at about 150 km detach the service module and landing can
  • Land in water, hard touchdown on land is possible but not recommended


1 - Toggle solar panels

2 - Toggle antenna

3 - Toggle landing lights

4 - Toggle ladders

A stock rocket called ARO Lunar Operations Vehicle. Built with 145 of the finest parts, its root part is EnginePlate2.

Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.8.1.


  • Type: VAB
  • Class: ship
  • Part Count: 145
  • Pure Stock
  • Restock recommended


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