|N1-L3 - 1964 - N1-L3 as per advanced project, 1964|
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Korolev OKB lunar landing launch vehicle. Built on-site at Baikonur from major components fabricated at Progress factory in Samara. These test vehicles did not exceed 2735 tonnes liftoff mass and 70 tonne earth orbit payload capability, as opposed to design requirement of 2750 tonnes and 95 tonnes. Four flight tests, all failures. Cancelled and Energia developed for heavy lift requirements.
Launches: 4. Failures: 4. Success Rate: 0.00% pct. First Launch Date: 21 February 1969. Last Launch Date: 23 November 1972. LEO Payload: 70,000 kg. to: 225 km Orbit. at: 51.6 degrees. Liftoff Thrust: 4,400,000 kgf. Total Mass: 2,735,000 kg. Core Diameter: 17.0 m. Total Length: 105.0 m. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 604.00 million. in 1985 unit dollars.
|N1 Pad Construction - N1 Pads Under Construction|
Credit: RKK Energia. 21,705 bytes. 211 x 282 pixels.
At the urging of S P Korolev, OKB-1 Section 12, led by M V Melnikov, started development of an ion engine. By 1959 it would be proposed that clusters of the 7.5 kgf thrust ion engine could take the TMK-E manned Mars spacecraft on a low acceleration spiralling trajectory away from the Earth until it finally reached escape velocity and headed toward Mars. But to power even such a limited engine solar panels with a total area of 36,000 square meters would be required - clearly beyond 1959 technology. Feoktistov's solution was to turn to the use of a nuclear reactor to power the ion engine.
|N1 Side View|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 4,124 bytes. 635 x 145 pixels.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On the Creation of pockets With Engines on the Basis of Nuclear Energy Applications--work on a draft project for rockets with nuclear engines' was issued. Competing engine designs were in development by Glushko’s OKB-456 and Bondaryuk’s OKB-670. Both designs used existing available reactors in cyldindrical housings, with the reactors operating at 3000 degrees K. The propellant was heated in the reactor and exhausted through four expansion nozzles. The Glushko engine operated with ammonia, while the Bondaryuk engine used a mixture of ammonia and alcohol. With such propellants a specific impulse of 430 seconds was achieved.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 3,920 bytes. 142 x 761 pixels.
In 1959 a group of enthusiasts in OKB-1 Section 3 under the management of G U Maksimov started engineering design of this first fantastic project for manned interplanetary travel. The requirements for executing this project would shape the specifications for the N1 launch vehicle.
|N1 launch - frame 1 - Frame from computer-generated simulation of N1 launch|
Credit: new. 16,458 bytes. 320 x 240 pixels.
|N1 Early Design - Early design of N1 with aerospike first stage|
Credit: Gleb Aleksushin. 14,336 bytes. 124 x 689 pixels.
Korolev abandons work on nuclear-powered rockets. Future launch vehicles to be based on conventional lox/keroesene propellants.
|Early model of N1 - Early model of N1 being erected by the Grasshopper carrier. A retouched version of this photo was the first one released to the West.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 15,672 bytes. 250 x 286 pixels.
|N1 launch - frame 2 - Frame from computer-generated simulation of N1 launch|
Credit: new. 21,547 bytes. 320 x 240 pixels.
Korolev wrote to the Ministry of Defence, trying to obtain support for a military orbital station (OS). The station would have a crew of 3 to 5, orbited at 350 to 400 km altitude. The station would conduct military reconnaissance, control other spacecraft in orbit, and undertake basic space research. The N-I version of the station would have a mass of 25 to 30 tonnes and the N-II version 60 to 70 tonnes. Korolev pointed out that his design bureau had already completed a draft project, in which 14 work brigades had participated.
|N1 launch - frame 3 - Frame from computer-generated simulation of N1 launch|
Credit: new. 24,231 bytes. 315 x 240 pixels.
Also known as TOSZ - Heavy Orbital Station of the Earth, this was Korolev’s first 1961 project for a large N1-launched military space station.
|N1-L3 Payload Shroud|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 18,935 bytes. 396 x 253 pixels.
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Chelomei heads circumlunar project. Chelomei asked by Khruschev to begin design for booster and spacecraft for circumlunar mission (UR-500 Proton and LK-1). No authorization for lunar landing program, although Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei all begin booster designs.
|N1 Predecessors - Predecessors to the N1 - From left: YaRD nuclear powered ICBM; YaKhR nuclear launch vehicle; SuperRaket; R-9 ICBM; N-III; N-IIGR; N-I of 1962; N1-L3 of 1964|
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Design of the manned Mars flyby spacecraft had involved nearly all sections of Korolev's OKB-1. Those who worked on the TMK included A I Dylnev, A K Algypov, A A Kochkin, A A Dashkov, V N Kubasov, V E Bugrov, and N N Protacov. Kubasov would be selected as a cosmonaut in 1966.
|NK-15 / 11D51 - NK-15 / 11D51 rocket engine for first stage of N1|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 57,039 bytes. 382 x 577 pixels.
First Soviet public announcement of manned lunar goals.
Decree 'On restriction of work on the N1' was issued.
|NK15 engine - NK-15 / 11D51 rocket engine for first stage of N1|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 48,814 bytes. 346 x 537 pixels.
Decree 'On Important Development of Intercontinental Ballistic and Global Missiles and Carriers-Rockets for Space Objects--work on the N1, R-36, R-36-O, and R-56' was issued.
|N1 base heat shield - Closeup of N1 base heat shield, with openings for six centre engines, used as a gazebo at Baikonur.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 18,025 bytes. 341 x 240 pixels.
|N1 base heat shield - N1 base heat shield, with openings for six centre engines, used as a gazebo at Baikonur.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 23,354 bytes. 496 x 201 pixels.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 1021-436 'On start of work on the N1 and GR-1' was issued. Following a review of the N1 project by an Academy of Sciences expert commission headed by Keldysh in July, this decree provided a detailed plan leading to a first launch by the end of 1965. Planning and drawing release for the GR-1 were completed by this date and the decree ordered test flights to begin in the third quarter of 1963. However development problems with the NK-9 engine resulted in continual delays. Finally in 1964 Korolev's GR-1 was cancelled and Yangel’s R-36 was selected for the mission. This would deprive Korolev of a vital test-bed for flight test of the N1 engines.
|N1 propellant tank - N1 propellant tank dome, abandoned at Baikonur|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 29,970 bytes. 449 x 279 pixels.
Work on the OS-1 began following a meeting between Khrushchev and chief designers at Pitsunda. Korolev was authorized to proceed immediately to upgrade the three stage N vehicle to a maximum 75 tonne payload in order to launch the station. By 1965 the mockup of the huge station had been completed.
|N1 propellant tank - N1 propellant tank dome, used as gazebo at Baikonur|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 13,292 bytes. 325 x 224 pixels.
At Khrushchev's decision Chelomei takes over Lavochkin's OKB-301 and Myasishchev's OKB-23. Lavochkin had built objects 205, 207, 400 (SA-1,2,5); Chelomei UR-96 ABM-1.
|MIK Assembly Bldg - External view of the colossal MIK N1 / Energia / Buran Horizontal Assembly Building.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 9,609 bytes. 389 x 163 pixels.
|N1 Stage 1 - Views of computer model of N1 first stage|
Credit: new. 39,096 bytes. 544 x 431 pixels.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of the schedule of work for the N1 launch complexes' was issued.
|N1 5L night launch|
Credit: RKK Energia. 9,417 bytes. 291 x 480 pixels.
Decree 'On termination of work on the R-56 launch vehicle and on schedule of the testing for the N1' was issued.
|N1 on pad at night|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 5,950 bytes. 90 x 342 pixels.
|N1 5L Rollout|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 25,330 bytes. 406 x 287 pixels.
|N1 vehicle 7L|
Credit: Ed Cameron. 33,258 bytes. 271 x 475 pixels.
Credit: RKK Energia. 13,514 bytes. 214 x 273 pixels.
|N1 7L on pad - Note modified first stage fairings on N1 7L|
Credit: RKK Energia. 31,432 bytes. 413 x 283 pixels.
|N1 second stage - N1 second stage undergoing dynamic test. This is believed to be the N1M version of the stage, showing the insulation panels to protect the cryogenic propellants.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 17,301 bytes. 150 x 217 pixels.
Korolyov dies in colon surgery in Moscow. He had known he had cancer for some time but kept it a secret from his colleagues. His death at 59 comes as a surprise and his successor, Mishin, does not have the forceful personality and political connections of the original Chief Designer.
|N1 test model - N1 dynamic test model in the stand at Tsniimash.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 16,628 bytes. 117 x 424 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.
|TsNIIMASH Overview - Overall view of TsNIIMASH museum|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 39,542 bytes. 625 x 204 pixels.
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On approval of the N1-L3 mission profile' was issued.
|N1 3L on pad|
Credit: RKK Energia. 16,703 bytes. 236 x 283 pixels.
Communist Party delegates from Interkosmos states visited Baikonur for two days. They were shown the N1 launch complex and viewed a Molniya-1 launch. They were the first non-Russians to see the N1 complex.
|Cutaway of N1|
Credit: RKK Energia. 5,227 bytes. 67 x 240 pixels.
Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On creation of a commission to compare the UR-700-LK-700 and the N1-L3' was issued.
|N1 6L liftoff|
Credit: RKK Energia. 12,810 bytes. 310 x 240 pixels.
Kamanin diary complains of lunar coordination problems.
|N1-L3 Tower - Detail of tower of N1-L3 7L|
Credit: RKK Energia. 22,436 bytes. 303 x 239 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.
|N1 5L Explosion - Final explosion of N1 5L, destroying pad.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 15,200 bytes. 310 x 238 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.
|2 N1s Mounted on Pad|
Credit: RKK Energia. 22,643 bytes. 337 x 239 pixels.
Ministry of General Machine Building (MOM) Decree 'On construction of the N1 payload fairing by the Khrunichev Plant' was issued.
|N1 5L Falls Back - Having just cleared the towr, N1 5L falls back onto the pad at a 45 degree agnle.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 9,379 bytes. 311 x 240 pixels.
|N1 5L clears tower - N1 5L Clears the tower but falters as the KORD system incorrectly shuts down engines.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 10,577 bytes. 306 x 238 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.
|N1 5L liftoff - Engine ignition of N1 5L.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 13,195 bytes. 311 x 239 pixels.
Decree 'On revision of the timetable for the N1-L3' was issued.
|N1 7L liftoff - N1 7L rises over the apartment blocks of the workers that built it|
Credit: RKK Energia. 18,831 bytes. 306 x 240 pixels.
Slipped to May.
|N1 subassemblies - N1 tank sections were built in Samara, then shipped to Baikonur for assembly of the launch vehicle.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 15,820 bytes. 307 x 240 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.
|N1 stages - N1 stages in teh assembly hall|
Credit: RKK Energia. 24,949 bytes. 332 x 240 pixels.
While the next N1, 3L was being built, the 1M1 was moved back to the pad for further ground tests and launch crew training. It remained there until the end of September.
|N1 tank assembly - Subassmeblies from Samara were built up into stage bulkheads on assembly jigs at Baikonur.|
Credit: RKK Energia. 16,696 bytes. 310 x 240 pixels.
The 3L vehicle, without its payload (which was on the 1M1 mockup), is erected on the pad to test engine systems.
|N1 boattail assembly - Base of N1 first stage in assembly jig|
Credit: RKK Energia. 23,032 bytes. 310 x 240 pixels.
|N1 engineers - N1 engineers study drawing|
Credit: RKK Energia. 16,429 bytes. 339 x 240 pixels.
|N1 Engine fired - N1 Engine fired on test stand|
Credit: RKK Energia. 12,330 bytes. 291 x 240 pixels.
|N1 Upper Stage - N1 Upper Stage firing on test stand|
Credit: RKK Energia. 11,716 bytes. 308 x 240 pixels.
|N1 6L Liftoff|
Credit: RKK Energia. 15,447 bytes. 310 x 240 pixels.
N-1 serial number 5L began to fail at 0.25 second after liftoff when the oxidizer pump of engine number 8 ingested a slag fragment and exploded. A fire ensued as the vehicle climbed past the top of the tower. Engines were shutdown until the acceleration dropped below 1 G; then the vehicle began to fall back to the pad at a 45 degree angle. The escape tower fired at the top of the brief trajectory, taking the L1S dummy descent module away from the pad. Upon impact of the base of the N1 with the pad, the vehicle exploded, destroying launch pad 110 east, which would take over 18 months to repair.
|N1 6L ignition|
Credit: RKK Energia. 12,810 bytes. 310 x 240 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.
|N1 6L Engine Start|
Credit: RKK Energia. 6,551 bytes. 313 x 240 pixels.
US reconnsat detects N1 being installed on the pad. It remained there, without payload, at least through 4 June.
|N1 7L Liftoff|
Credit: RKK Energia. 13,588 bytes. 308 x 239 pixels.
|N1 MIK Assembly Hall|
Credit: RKK Energia. 20,890 bytes. 309 x 238 pixels.
The Russians were never able to have enough success with the N1 booster to have a serious schedule for the first Soviet lunar landing. In January 1969, before the first N1 launch, it was not expected that a Soviet landing would take place until 1972 at the earliest. In such circumstances only a disaster leading to cancellation of the Apollo program would allow the Russians to be first to the moon. After the explosions of the first two N1 rockets, and the success of Apollo 11, Russian engineering efforts were diverted into crash development of the Salyut space station in order to beat the American Skylab. Cosmonauts trained for L3 lunar landing missions until October 1973, when the last training group was dissolved. By that time actual manned flight of the original single-launch L3 LOK/LK spacecraft to the moon had been abandoned. Instead work was underway on the N1F-L3M, a twin launch scenario that would put the L3M lander on the surface in 1978 for extended operations, and eventually, a lunar base. This in turn was cancelled with the entire N1 program in 1974.
|N1 Model Test|
Credit: RKK Energia. 13,560 bytes. 306 x 236 pixels.
|N1 Wind Tunnel Test|
Credit: RKK Energia. 9,093 bytes. 320 x 240 pixels.
|N1 Subscale Model|
Credit: RKK Energia. 22,171 bytes. 338 x 240 pixels.
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.
|Model of N1 pad|
Credit: RKK Energia. 24,069 bytes. 340 x 240 pixels.
Ministry of Defence Decree 'On suspension of further launches of the N1' was issued.
|N1 Rollout - N1 Rollout - base of booster|
Credit: RKK Energia. 24,422 bytes. 341 x 239 pixels.
|N1 Rollout - N1 Rollout - view from inside MIK|
Credit: RKK Energia. 17,840 bytes. 306 x 240 pixels.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 5,579 bytes. 177 x 799 pixels.
|N1 Diagram Korolev - Diagram of N1 launch vehicle at Korolev.|
Credit: Jakob Terweij. 56,673 bytes. 365 x 600 pixels.
|N1 Cutaway - Dimensioned Russian cutaway drawing of N1 launch vehicle.|
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