In a letter to the Central Committee of the Communist Part in January 1960 Korolev proposed an aggressive program for Communist conquest of space. This would be accomplished by develpment of a new rocket of 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes gross lift-off mass with a 60 to 80 tonne payload at the earliest possible date. Among the potential payloads for his rocket in the period 1963 to 1965 Korolev proposed a spacecraft with 2 to 3 men for flyby of the moon, entry into lunar orbit, and return to earth. Payload mass would be 10 to 12 tonnes in lunar orbit with 2 to 3 tonnes return payload. This lunar orbiter would be twice as large as the L1 'loop around the moon' spacecraft. Korolev pledged to place before the Central Committee in the third quarter of 1960 comprehensive plans for development of the new projects. Following negotiations with other Chief Designers and the government, the final decree 715-296 of 23 June 1960 authorized draft project work on the L1 and the N1 booster but did not mention any N1-launched lunar orbiter.
Craft.Crew Size: 3. Total Mass: 12,000 kg.