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|L3 -1963 - 1963 L3 manned lunar lander using earth-orbit rendezvous method. Configuration based on description and lander configuration of early L3M design.|
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Manufacturer's Designation: L3. Class: Manned. Type: Lunar Lander. Nation: USSR. Manufacturer: OKB-1.
Korolevís first version of the L-3 manned spacecraft was described in a 23 September 1963 letter setting out the space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975. The L3 was designed to make a direct lunar landing using the earth orbit rendezvous method. It was a 200 tonne spacecraft requiring three N1 launches and a single Soyuz 11A5ll launch to assemble in low earth orbit. The first N1 launch would place the 75 tonne partially-fuelled TLI stage and L3 spacecraft (except the L1 manned return craft) into low earth orbit. Two further N1 launches would orbit 75 tonne tankers which would rendezvous and dock with the first payload and top off its propellant tanks. Then the Soyuz would be launched for an automated rear-end docking with the entire L3 stack.
The L3 spacecraft thereby assembled consisted of:
The total L3 mission would take ten to seventeen days. 2.5 to 3.5 days would be spent on the translunar and transearth legs of the mission Five to ten days would be spent on the lunar surface.
- Translunar injection stage, with a total mass of 138 tonnes
- The lunar braking stage, which included a separate midcourse correction section cast off before the braking burn. Midcourse manoeuvres would be made at 100,000 and 150,000 km from the earth to ensure a landing near the site pre-surveyed by the L-2 robotic lunar rover, which would be providing a homing signal for the L-3. The lunar braking stage had a total mass of just under 40 tonnes. The main braking burn would start 200 to 300 km above the surface.
- The lunar soft landing/ascent stage, which had a total mass of 21 tonnes landed on the moon. The stage would use variable-thrust engines to make a soft landing at 2-4 m/s on the surface. The landing leg structure and soft landing engines would be left behind on the moon.
- The ascent stage, which would separate from the landing legs and propel the manned capsule back toward the earth. This included the guidance system for the entire L-3 complex.
- The Soyuz L1 manned spacecraft, which consisted of a 2.5 tonne equipment module and 2.5 tonne re-entry module. It could accommodate a crew of two to three.
The L3 was not authorised in this form and it would over two years before a very belated start was made to beat the Americans in the moon-landing race. The L3 reformulated for the crash program would require only a single uprated N1 launch and use the lunar-orbit-rendezvous method, with a single-man lander.
01 September 1963
Korolev earth orbit rendezvous L3 manned lunar lander design.
This L3 design was a 200 tonne direct-lander requiring three launches of his giant N1 rocket and assembled in low earth orbit.
23 September 1963
Korolev letter sets out a space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975.
|Soviet Lunar Landers - Comparison of Soviet lunar lander designs. Only the LK reached the hardware stage.|
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The plan included a series of lunar exploration vehicles: the L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5.
- 283 - Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.
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Last update 12 March 2001.
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