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The author of this page will appreciate comments, corrections and imagery related to the subject. Please contact Anatoly Zak.


Related pages:

N1

N1 ICBM


N1-3L

N1 No. 3L


5L

N1 No. 5L


NK-33

NK-33


Soyuz-2

Soyuz-2-3


Lunar program guide:

Program chronology

Chronology of the Moon Race

N1

L3

N1/Block G

N1/Block D

LK/Block E

LOK/Block I


N1 launch facilities


Soviet plans for lunar base


DALS

DALS


Acknowledgement:

The author would like to thank Dmitry Vorontsov for additions.

 

 

 

 

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A scale model of the N1 rocket and its launch pad. Copyright © 2002 Anatoly Zak


The NK engine, which powered the first stage of the N1 rocket. Copyright © 2000 Anatoly Zak


Test station No. 2 (IS-2) at NIIKhimmash research facility near Sergiev Posad, formerly Zagorsk, was used for test firings of the engines for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th stages of the N1-L3 complex. Credit: NIIKhimmash


Flight

First launch of the N1 rocket on Feb. 21, 1969.


launch

The second launch of the N1 rocket on July 3, 1969.


remnants

Years after the demise of the Soviet lunar program, shrouds, tanks and other pieces of the giant N-1 rockets remain scattered around Baikonur, serving as storage, gazebos and playgrounds. Copyright © 2000 Anatoly Zak


 

 

 

 

 

N1 MOON ROCKET

Previous chapter: Soviet lunar exploration program

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At the end of the 1950s, the OKB-1 design bureau led by Sergei Korolev began development of a super-heavy rocket booster, later designated N1. Originally proposed as a multipurpose vehicle for a variety of military and scientific tasks, the N1 evolved into a project with a single mission -- to beat America to the Moon. However, the N1's catastrophic failures during four test launches in 1969-1972 doomed the Soviet effort to land a man on the Moon and left the ill-fated rocket under a veil of secrecy for decades.


N1-L3 system overview:

Total length
105 meters
Maximum diameter
17 meters
Liftoff mass
2,783-2,825 tons
Dry mass
281 tons
Total mass of liquid oxygen oxidizer (three stages - Block A, B and V combined)
1,780 tons
Total mass of kerosene fuel (three stages - Block A, B and V combined)
680 tons
Liftoff thrust
4,500 tons
Payload mass to low Earth orbit, LEO
95 tons

(111)

 

Overview of the N1 family:

Version
Payload, t
Launch mass, t
Dry mass, m
Engine thrust*
Length, m
N1
82
2,825
281
4,500
105
N11
20-24
700-770
-
-
-
N11GR
9
1,012
67
-
-
N111
5
200
-
-
-
N1U
95
2,750
260
4,500
105
N1UV-III
115
2,900
285
4,500
120
N1F
100
2,950
280
5,250
110
N1FV-III
125
3,000
300
5,250
125
N1MV-II-III
150
3,250
355
5,250
145
N1M (Mod. 1)
155
4,950
470
7,500
135
N1M (Mod. 2)
175
5,300
505
7,500
140
N1MV-III (Mod. 1)
185
4,950
490
7,500
145
N1MV-III (Mod. 2)
205
5,350
520
7,500
150
N1MV-II, -III
230
5,200
530
7,500
165

*Total first stage engine thrust

(84)


Major contractors in the N1 poject:

Even at its early stage, a wide array of the Soviet institutions had to be involved in such a complex project as was the N1 (52):

Development area Organization Leading Designer
Propulsion (Initial studies)
OKB-456
V. Glushko
Propulsion (Stage I, II and III)
OKB-276
N. Kuznetsov
RD-57 engine for a follow-on Block S upper stage
OKB-165
A. M. Lylka
RD-56 engine for a follow-on Block R and Sr upper stages
KB Khimmash
A. Isaev
Flight control system
NII-885
N. A. Pilyugin
Flight control system
NII-944
V. I. Kuznetsov
Launch infrastructure
GSKB Spetsmash
V. P. Barmin
Ground control infrastructure
NII-4
A. I. Sokolov
Propellant supply and tank purging systems
OKB-12
A. S. Abramov
Aerodynamics
NII-88
Yu. A. Mozhorin
Aerodynamics
TsAGI
V. M. Myasishev
Aerodynamics
NII-1
V. Ya. Likhushin
Manufacturing process
Paton institute
B. E. Paton
Manufacturing process
NITI-40
Ya. V. Kolupaev
Manufacturing process
Progress Plant
A. Ya. Linkov
Propulsion system testing and development
NII-229
G. M. Tabakov
N1/L3 payload fairing
ZIKh
-

 

Test launches of the N1 rocket:

Feb. 21, 1969: The first test launch of the N1 rocket (Vehicle No. 3L) carrying a 7K-L1A (7K-L1S) spacecraft failed 68.7 seconds after liftoff.

July 3, 1969: The second test launch of the N1 rocket (Vehicle No. 5L) carrying a 7K-L1A (7K-L1S) spacecraft failed at liftoff.

June 27, 1971: The third launch of the N1 rocket (Vehicle No. 6L) failed at 50.1 seconds after liftoff from the left pad of the Site 110 in Baikonur.

Nov. 23, 1972: The fourth launch of the N1 rocket (Vehicle No. 7L) carrying an operational LOK spacecraft and a mockup of the LK lunar module failed about 107 seconds after liftoff.

 


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Writing and photography by Anatoly Zak

Last update: July 3, 2014

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