|Apollo vs N1-L3|
Apollo CSM / LM vs L3 Lunar Complex
Credit: © Mark Wade. 11,521 bytes. 621 x 332 pixels.
Korolev abandons work on nuclear-powered rockets. Future launch vehicles to be based on conventional lox/keroesene propellants.
|LK landing leg - View of the landing leg to the cosmonaut's front left. Note the solid rocket motors mounted above each leg that fired DOWN to settle the LK securely on the surface once the lander was near the surface. Yangel OKB tests proved such rockets greatly improved the chances of the rocket not toppling if landing on a 30 degree slope or with one leg on a moon rock. The descent ladder is seen to the right of the picture.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 44,828 bytes. 481 x 400 pixels.
A recent Russian article discussed various methods which the Soviet Union had been studying for sending a man to the moon during the decade. The earth orbital rendezvous method was reported the most reliable, but consideration also had been given to the direct ascent method, using the "Mastodon" rocket.
|LK Overhead - Overhead view of the LK lander, showing Kontakt docking system hexagonal grid docking structure. Exit hatch and ladder are to the right; scallop for main view port at front. Two high gain antennae at either side provided transmission of television from the lunar surface to earth.|
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|N1 Cutaway - Dimensioned Russian cutaway drawing of N1 launch vehicle.|
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Following the August decree that gave the circumlunar project to Chelomei and the lunar landing project to Korolev, further work on development of the UR-700 by Chelomei was cancelled. However development of the RD-270 engine was continued and Chelomei continued to do UR-700 design studies.
|L3 Cutaway - Dimensioned Russian cutaway drawing of L3 manned lunar landing complex.|
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Former Lavochkin bureau, part of Chelomei, regained status of a separate design bureau with former Korolev deputy GN Babakin as its head. By the end of 1965 all materials on the E-6, Ye-8, and planetary probes were passed by Korolev to the Lavochkin Bureau, who took over responsibility for all future lunar and planetary unmanned probes.
|LK Test Article - Subscale dynamic test article of a late configuration of the LK, as preserved in the TsniiMash museum. Thi shows well the complex shape of the Lunar Cabin and the final LPU configuration.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 45,855 bytes. 359 x 461 pixels.
Following Korolev's death, Mishin discovered that growth of the mass of the L3 payload had taken the low earth orbit payload requirement to 95 tonnes, beyond the 75 tonne lifting capability of the N1. To achieve the 95 tonne payload, changes in plans and redesign of the N1 would be necessary. The measures taken were: reduction of the orbital inclination for the initial earth orbit from 65 degrees to 52 degrees; reduce the altitude of the lunar orbit from 300 km to 220 km; increase the propellant mass by supercooling the propellants prior to loading in the lunach vehicle (the kerosene to be at -15 to -20 degrees Centigrade, the liquid oxygen to -191 degrees centigrade); add six engines to the first stage; increase thrust of all the engines on the first, second, and third stages by 2%; add a fourth stabilizer. The result of all of these measures would increase the launch mass to 2800 tonnes and the payload to the required 95 tonnes.
|LOK Orbital Module - LOK Orbital Module, view down from top of spacecraft toward Soyuz descent module.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 21,648 bytes. 195 x 292 pixels.
Komarov announces in Japan that USSR would beat the US to moonlanding by one year.
Kamanin diary complains of lunar coordination problems.
|LOK Orbital Module - LOK Orbital Module, docking control station. The maneuvering panel and controls were located where the grey dummy panel is. The cosmonaut would look through the cupola to accomplish manual docking with the LK after its return from the lunar surface.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 56,090 bytes. 395 x 575 pixels.
Mishin's draft plan for the Soviet lunar landing was approved by an expert commission headed by Keldysh. The first N-1 launch was set for March 1968. At same meeting, Chelomei made a last ditch attempt to get his revised UR-700/LK-700 direct landing approach approved in its place. Although Chelomei had lined up the support of Glushko, and Mishin was in a weak position after Korolev's death, Keldysh managed to ensure that the N1-L3 continued. However continued design work on the LK-700, the UR-700 booster, and development of the RD-270 engine were authorised.
|LOK Descent Module - LOK Descent Module detail. The ablative material is far thicker than on the standard Soyuz descent module for the reentry from lunar distances at twice the energy as that from earth orbit.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 49,816 bytes. 394 x 580 pixels.
Soviet government approves plan to land cosmonaut on moon by end 1968. N-1 test plan approved, envisioning third quarter 1967 as beginning of flight hardware construction. Fall-back project would be manned circumlunar mission. First manned L1 mission imagined as early as June 1967. First N1 launch by March 1968.
|LOK Descent Module - LOK Descent Module and Orbital Module. Note the cupola at the left top of the Orbital Module.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 48,259 bytes. 358 x 574 pixels.
CIA reports accurately development of N-1, Almaz, Proton, etc.... even states 100,000 kg large space station in development for launch by N-1 by 1969. CIA does not expect lunar landing until early 1970's.
|LK panels - The cosmonauts' view of the LK viewports and control panels. On the left, environmental control and cabin depressurization controls (ligh blue panel); radio controls (dark green panel); large porthole looking down at lunar surface during landing. The small porthole looked upward for docking. The optical devices that were associated with these portholes are not present in this mock-up. To the right, sequencer panel for calling up sequences for maneuvers, landing, rendezvous, and docking. Guarded switches initiated major events. One of two hand controllers is visible below the green radio panel.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 75,401 bytes. 788 x 354 pixels.
|LOK Block I forward - View of the dome covering the pressurized instrument compartment of the LOK.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 57,540 bytes. 577 x 397 pixels.
20 cosmonauts begin training for lunar landing. Decision after a year of acrimonious argument between Korolev OKB and military. Final slate: Air Force: Bykovsky, Filipchenko, Gorbatko, Khrunov, Kuklin, Leonov, Nikolayev, Shonin, Voloshin, Volonov. OKB: Feoktistov, Grechko, Kubasov, Makarov, Nikitski, Rukavishnikov, Sevastyanov, Volkov, Yazdovski, Yeliseyev.
|S5.51 LOK engine - Side view of the Isayev S5.51 engine used in the Soyuz 7K-LOK lunar orbiter.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 60,916 bytes. 385 x 511 pixels.
Slipped to May.
|LOK Orbital Module - LOK Orbital Module. Note the far greater amount of external cabling and connecting plates than in the standard Soyuz.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 51,027 bytes. 393 x 568 pixels.
|Soyuz LOK - Soyuz LOK lunar orbiter.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 6,574 bytes. 576 x 208 pixels.
A September 1968 flight test was planned. However the first stage LOX tank developed hairline cracks during ground tests. 4L was removed from the pad in June 1968. The first stage was cannibalized; the upper stages were incorporated into the 1M1 mockup for further training of the launch crews.
|LOK Block I side - View of the LOK Block I instrument/rocket module. The fragile radiators, arrayed around the main fuel tank, extended away from the body of the spacecraft in flight. The silvery instrument section has numerous patch panels for connecting external wiring. The tapered interstage with stringers connected to the Soyuz descent module. Large 'mooring' thrusters arrayed around this section provided high-authority maneuvering capability for the LOK in its rendezvous and docking with the LK.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 59,078 bytes. 577 x 403 pixels.
The N1 mockup was again erected on the pad, in order to conduct tests of the L1S payload in advance of the availability of the 3L launch vehicle.
|LK drawing at Kaluga - Cutaway drawingof LK lunar lander, showing position of cosmonaut in cabin.|
Credit: e. 40,125 bytes. 395 x 378 pixels.
The 3L vehicle, without its payload (which was on the 1M1 mockup), is erected on the pad to test engine systems.
|LK Two View - Two view layout drawing of LK lunar lander.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 8,008 bytes. 574 x 350 pixels.
N-1 serial number 3L was the first N-1 launched. The payload was the 7K-L1A adaptation of the 7K-L1 spacecraft. This had a modified engine block and a total mass of 6900 kg. The planned mission was a lunar orbital flight. The L3 assembly would have been placed into a 204 x 287 km orbit of the earth at 597 seconds after lift-off. Total mass in earth orbit would have been 70.56 tonnes (the Block G, Block D, and 7K-L1A). The launch window for the lunar launch was open from 18 to 21 February; the launch was made on the last possible day. The N1 had a total mass of 2762 tonnes at ignition and 2756 tonnes at lift-off. Lift-off thrust was measured at 4,590 tonnes. The propellants had been densified before loading by chilling the Lox to -191 deg C and the fuel to -15 deg C. The mission plan called for the Block G to put the Block D and 7K-L1A on a translunar trajectory. After a 3.5 coast to the moon, the Block D would fire and place the assembly into lunar orbit. After two days of photography of the lunar surface, the Block D would fire again and place the 7K-L1A on a trans-earth trajectory. The Block D would separate and the 7K-L1A would use its own engines for mid-course corrections on the return leg. After re-entry in the atmosphere, the 7K-L1A would be recovered on Soviet territory.
|LK - Overall view of the LK preserved at the Orevo Museum of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 51,734 bytes. 396 x 655 pixels.
|LOK reaction control - The upper half of this item is the ODOP (Orientation and docking engine section) of the LOK, mounted at the top of the orbital module. The cone at top was had grapples for snagging the hexagonal grid of the large disk on top of the LK. Propellants for the orientation and maneuvering engines were in the tanks in this section. The bottom half of this item is similar to a test installation used on the Soyuz 7K-L1S destroyed in the several N1 launches.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 47,373 bytes. 368 x 520 pixels.
Military on full alert; Tyuratam preempted by military through June
Original planned date for first test of LK in earth orbit.
|LOK Orbital Module - LOK Orbital Module interior|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 82,772 bytes. 573 x 398 pixels.
|S5.51 LOK engine|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 64,079 bytes. 555 x 390 pixels.
This was the first new launch vehicle erection activity detected by US reconnsats after the destruction of pad 110 east in the July launch failure. The all-white launch vehicle, with no payload, is believed to be either N1 mockup 1M1 or flight vehicle 6L.
|LK ladder base - Detail of the base of the ladder, showing the battery racks below the ladder. Note the shape of the foot pad.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 50,394 bytes. 527 x 369 pixels.
|LK Main Engine - The LK engine cluster at the base of the lander. The single chamber RD-858 of the 2,050 kgf main engine is at the center. It is flanked by the two nozzles of the RD-859 2,045 kgf backup engine. The smaller nozzles are exhaust nozzles for the turbines of the pump-fed engines. At landing or takeoff, both the primary and backup engines would ignite. Only if both engines were operating, would one shut down. The thick clamshell doors closed over the engines after landing to insulate them and prevent injestion of lunar soil.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 55,317 bytes. 577 x 398 pixels.
The active spacecraft in the second planned test of the Kontakt lunar rendezvous/docking system.
|LK - Detail forward view drawing of the LK lunar lander.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 8,592 bytes. 421 x 464 pixels.
US reconnsat detects N1 being installed on the pad. It remained there, without payload, at least through 4 June.
|LOK Block I side - View of the LOK Block I. Noticeable are the fragile radiator panels, and the large maneuvering thrusters at the forward end. The large cylindrical devices are fuel cells.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 48,508 bytes. 580 x 398 pixels.
|Early LK Test Model - Dynamic Test Model of Early LK Concept.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 58,518 bytes. 354 x 458 pixels.
Test of Block D upper stage in its N1 lunar crasher configuration in earth orbit. The three maneuvers simulated the lunar orbit insertion burn; the lunar orbit circularization burn; and the descent burn to bring the LK lunar lander just over the surface. Payload was a modified Soyuz 7K-L1 circumlunar spacecraft, which provided guidance to the Block D and was equipped with television cameras that viewed the behavior of the Block D stage propellants under zero-G conditions.
190km X 300km orbit to 303km X 5038km orbit. Delta V: 982 m/s
318km X 5040km orbit to 1616km X 5071km orbit. Delta V: 285 m/s
1616km X 5071km orbit to 2577km X 5082km orbit. Delta V: 1311 m/s
Total Delta V: 2578 m/s.
|LOK Lunar Orbiter - The Soyuz 7K-LOK lunar orbiter spacecraft to be used in the L3 lunar landing project complex.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 19,358 bytes. 497 x 178 pixels.
Further development work on the RD-270 engine, UR-700 launch vehicle, and LK-700 lunar landing project are cancelled following the successful Apollo lunar landing.
|Soyuz 7K-LOK - Soyuz 7K-LOK manned lunar orbit spacecraft.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 16,758 bytes. 558 x 170 pixels.
Decision made to proceed with development of the multi-engined stage Block Sr with a propellant mass of 66.4 tonnes. This single stage would be used in place of the previously-planned Blocks S and R to insert the modernized Lunar Expeditionary Complex (LEK) into low lunar orbit. It was also to be used to insert heavy spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit and on interplanetary trajectories.
|Chelomei LK-700 - Chelomei LK-700 manned direct lunar landing spacecraft. From top to bottom: launch escape tower, VA reentry capsule, lunar landing/earth return stage, lunar crasher descent stage, lunar orbit injection stage.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 9,186 bytes. 81 x 409 pixels.
Superbooster failure of N1 serial number 6L. This was a substantially improved vehicle, incorporating filters in the propellant lines to prevent any foreign objects from getting into the pumps. The shape of the tail of the booster was modified, and ventilation and refrigeration systems were added to keep the engine compartment cool. It was painted white overall to reduce temperatures while sitting on the pad. After liftoff and ascent, an axial rotation was introduced by gas dynamics interactions of the thirty engines with the air slipstream. The launch vehicle developed a roll beyond the capability of the control system to compensate. and began to break up as it went through Max Q. Control was lost at 50.2 seconds into the flight and it was destroyed by range safety a second later. The engines functioned well and did not shut down up to the point of vehicle destruction. No functional payload was carried. It has been stated that this launch did not have a working launch escape system.
|Chelomei LK-700 - Chelomei LK-700 manned direct lunar landing spacecraft - cruise and landed configurations|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 33,314 bytes. 640 x 378 pixels.
Final LK moon lander test using the T2K version.
188km X 267km orbit to 190km X 1261km orbit. Delta V: 266 m/s
188km X 1262km orbit to 180km X 11384km orbit. Delta V: 1333 m/s
Total Delta V: 1599 m/s. Ten years later the spacecraft was due to re-enter over Australia soon after the Skylab scare. The Soviet Union told the people of Australia not to worry, it was only an experimental lunar cabin - the first inadvertent admission that their manned lunar project even existed!
|Krechet Spacesuit - Krechet lunar space suit as displayed at NPO Zvezda. As in the Orlan suit still used on Mir, the cosmonaut entered the suit by swinging open a hatch at the rear. The backpack containing the life support system was housed in the backpack which made up the hatch door. As in Apollo, the gold-coated outer visor of the helment reflected ultra-violet radiation. The integrated Kretchet design meant that no external hoses were required as in the American Apollo suit.|
Credit: Andy Salmon. 18,771 bytes. 196 x 445 pixels.
Soyuz equipped with the passive Kontakt rendezvous/docking system of the LK lunar lander. Would have docked with Soyuz Kontakt 1.
By December 1970, there were four crews in training for two pairs of Soyuz spacecraft to be launched to test the Kontakt lunar rendezvous/docking system. The launches at that time were scheduled to occur after the missions to the Salyut 1 space station were completed. Soyuz Kontakt 1 would have been the active spacecraft of the first mission.
|Krechet Spacesuit - Front view of the Krechet lunar space suit|
Credit: Andy Salmon. 23,974 bytes. 206 x 478 pixels.
Soyuz Kontakt 3 would have been the active spacecraft of the second dual launch to test the Kontakt lunar orbit rendezvous system.
Soyuz equipped with the passive Kontakt rendezvous/docking system of the LK lunar lander. Would have served as a docking target for Soyuz Kontakt 3.
Unmanned test of manned lunar mission launch vehicle serial number 7L. This article incorporated significant changes to the previous model, including roll control 'steering' engines to prevent the loss of control that destroyed 6L. The rocket ascended into the sky, and the engines ran 106.93 seconds, only seven seconds before completion of first stage burnout. Programmed shutdown of some engines to prevent overstressing of the structure led to propellant line hammering, rupture of propellant lines, and an explosion of engine number 4. The vehicle was destroyed by range safety.
Final crews selected for a dual Soyuz mission in Earth orbit to test the Kontakt docking system to be used on the lunar landing LOK and LK spacecraft. The Kontakt-A Soyuz would have been the active spacecraft, simulating the LOK lunar orbiter.
Final crews selected for a dual Soyuz mission in Earth orbit to test the Kontakt docking system to be used on the lunar landing LOK and LK spacecraft. The Kontakt-P Soyuz would have been the passive spacecraft, simulating the LK lunar lander.
The N1 program was cancelled before the next test flight. Mishin was removed as head of NPO Energia. Kozlov is first asked to replace him, but he prefers to stay in Samara. Glushko is appointed as the second choice. Two fully assembled (serial numbers 8L and 9L), and four partially assembled rockets were available at time of cancellation. These would have been the first to use the new modernized series NK-33/NK-39 engines. 8L was planned for launch in the fourth quarter of 1974. Confidence was high that, based on the massive telemetry received on the 7L flight, that all problems would have been rectified. A total of 3.6 billion rubles was spent on the N1-L3 program, of which 2.4 billion rubles went into N1 development. Those on the project felt that they were within months of finally providing the Soviet Union with a heavy-lift booster. Instead the work was discarded, and Glushko began design of the RLA/Vulkan with entirely new configuration and engines.