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Lunar program guide:
The author would like to thank Dmitry Vorontsov for additions.
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
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
First launch of the N1 rocket on Feb. 21, 1969.
N1 MOON ROCKET
At the beginning of the 1960s, the OKB-1 design bureau led by Sergei Korolev started work on 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 (111)
N1 family overview (84)
*Total first stage engine thrust
Major participants in the N1 development
Even at the early stage, a wide array of the Soviet institutions had to be involved in such complex project as the N1 (52):
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 immediately after 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.
Writing and photography by Anatoly Zak
Last update: February 23, 2014
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