Author Topic: Soviet Moon Landing Project  (Read 30054 times)

Offline CarlosMeat

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Soviet Moon Landing Project
« on: 11/06/2009 11:46 am »
Looking at what the US did in such a short time to get to the moon is still amazing to me every time I read about it. The cutting edge incredible engineering work that made it happen. The guts it took and how risky it was and we still pulled it off mutiple times amazes me.

I have to admit though ,the Russians certainly were attempting a much much more risky project. It looked like even if the N1 had worked, it would have been close getting the lunar craft out there ,lift capacity wise, and landing in that thing let alone LOR with what they had and their very limited experience at rendezvous at all to that point. Additionally, most of the US landing was under the computer's control. Did the Russians have anything like the MIT G&N computer for their landing at the time ?

Any comments ?

« Last Edit: 11/06/2009 12:31 pm by CarlosMeat »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #1 on: 11/06/2009 01:20 pm »
When you write "it would have been very close" I assume you mean that it would have been risky, or even impossible for them to succeed?

I agree.  Although much of what has been written about their program focuses on their N-1 Moon rocket, keep in mind that we know much less about the development of their actual lander.  Think about how much we know about the difficulties of designing the LM.  We know that it was a really challenging vehicle on a lot of fronts.  Getting the weight down was extremely difficult.

Now contrast that to how little we know about the Russian lunar module development.  How far did they get in testing?  How good were their tests?  What kind of confidence did they have that it would work as designed?  I think all the information on this is rather blurry.

Offline Downix

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #2 on: 11/06/2009 02:08 pm »
When you write "it would have been very close" I assume you mean that it would have been risky, or even impossible for them to succeed?

I agree.  Although much of what has been written about their program focuses on their N-1 Moon rocket, keep in mind that we know much less about the development of their actual lander.  Think about how much we know about the difficulties of designing the LM.  We know that it was a really challenging vehicle on a lot of fronts.  Getting the weight down was extremely difficult.

Now contrast that to how little we know about the Russian lunar module development.  How far did they get in testing?  How good were their tests?  What kind of confidence did they have that it would work as designed?  I think all the information on this is rather blurry.
There is quite a bit known about the LK lander actually.  It was tested in orbit, three times, on Nov 24 1970, Feb 26 1971 and Oct 12 1971.  All test flights performed well.  There are several LK's on display in various museums in the former soviet block territory, and one was even on display at Eurodisney at one point. 

A good deal of information can be found on the astronautix website:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lk.htm

The lander was never the issue.  The only issues they had was the rocket, and that the lunar command capsule (LOK) itself was never tested.

The whole Soviet moonshot, when you boil it down, came to be a case of conflicting Egos.  Glushko in 1961 approached Korolev about a compromize, Glushko would stop pushing for bi-propellants if Korolev would allow for a "packet" scheme, which they had used successfully years before in developing the R-7 "Sputnik".  Korolev rejected the offer, and thus the Soviet moon shot suffered as a result.  Glushko was an engine genius on par with Korolev's rocket genius.  If these two had worked together on the same rocket, instead of Korolev on the N-1 and Glushko on the Proton, I can easily imagine the history of the lunar landing turning out quite differently.

I may add, Glushko, when handed Korolev's old company in the 1970's, helped develop the Energia rocket.
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Offline Danderman

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #3 on: 11/06/2009 03:07 pm »
Here is a great resource on the subject, unfortunately, only in Russian.

Offline Launchpad911

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #4 on: 11/06/2009 03:10 pm »
Are there any good english language books about the Soviet moon program?

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #5 on: 11/06/2009 04:06 pm »
There is quite a bit known about the LK lander actually.  It was tested in orbit, three times, on Nov 24 1970, Feb 26 1971 and Oct 12 1971.  All test flights performed well.  There are several LK's on display in various museums in the former soviet block territory, and one was even on display at Eurodisney at one point. 

A good deal of information can be found on the astronautix website:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lk.htm

It was never tested with a human aboard.  What fidelity were the unmanned orbital tests?  As for astronautix, I am always wary of using it as a source.  I've encountered serious problems with translation there before.
« Last Edit: 11/06/2009 04:17 pm by Blackstar »

Offline Downix

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #6 on: 11/06/2009 04:51 pm »
There is quite a bit known about the LK lander actually.  It was tested in orbit, three times, on Nov 24 1970, Feb 26 1971 and Oct 12 1971.  All test flights performed well.  There are several LK's on display in various museums in the former soviet block territory, and one was even on display at Eurodisney at one point. 

A good deal of information can be found on the astronautix website:

http://www.astronautix.com/craft/lk.htm

It was never tested with a human aboard.  What fidelity were the unmanned orbital tests?  As for astronautix, I am always wary of using it as a source.  I've encountered serious problems with translation there before.
Well, Vostok was tested unmanned before Gagarin ever flew in it, don't forget.  This kind of Soviet testing was common, 3-4 unmanned tests using dummies, dogs, things like that.  They were pretty good about it, and were gun-shy after the fiasco with Soyuz 1.

I've run into similar issues with Astronautix, but in general it's not a bad site, like Wikipedia, if you use it for generalities.
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Offline SpaceCat

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #7 on: 11/06/2009 05:04 pm »
Are there any good english language books about the Soviet moon program?

Our friend, James Oberg, has certainly written extensively about Soviet space efforts-
http://www.jamesoberg.com/russian.html

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #8 on: 11/06/2009 06:20 pm »
Oberg's stuff about Soviet space is outdated, as even he will admit.

The best place to start is with Asif Siddiqi's Challenge to Apollo:

http://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Apollo-Soviet-1945-1974-history/dp/B0006RDSDS

http://faculty.fordham.edu/siddiqi/sws/written/cta/challenge_to_apollo.html

I believe that the entire thing is available online.  Also, I believe it was split into two volumes and published by U. Florida Press.  A little digging around will answer that.

Offline Jim

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #9 on: 11/06/2009 06:26 pm »
Oberg's stuff about Soviet space is outdated, as even he will admit.

The best place to start is with Asif Siddiqi's Challenge to Apollo:

http://www.amazon.com/Challenge-Apollo-Soviet-1945-1974-history/dp/B0006RDSDS

http://faculty.fordham.edu/siddiqi/sws/written/cta/challenge_to_apollo.html

I believe that the entire thing is available online.  Also, I believe it was split into two volumes and published by U. Florida Press.  A little digging around will answer that.

I second that.  I bought both volumes.  A lot of info.

Offline Danderman

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #10 on: 11/06/2009 06:46 pm »
It was never tested with a human aboard.  What fidelity were the unmanned orbital tests?  As for astronautix, I am always wary of using it as a source.  I've encountered serious problems with translation there before.

The T2K LEO missions are well documented via Russian sources. However, the key systems that were not tested AFAIK during these 3 missions were the digital lunar landing computer and the life support systems. The former was somewhat problematic since it was a very complex system, and since the LK had only 1 pilot, and the landing sequence was much more risky than the Apollo architecture, the computer was particularly crucial.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #11 on: 11/06/2009 08:15 pm »
I second that.  I bought both volumes.  A lot of info.

He's now working on a history of the Indian space program.

Offline CarlosMeat

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #12 on: 11/07/2009 01:29 pm »
My question about it being close refers to the capacity of a functioning N1 to actually get the stack out to the moon. I read some place that it might have been underpowered even as mamoth as it was for the expected lunar vehicle weight.

Additionally, my question regarding the computer for landing,was was it up to the task ? My understanding was getting the Apollo computer finished in time with MIT behind it was touch and go.
« Last Edit: 11/07/2009 01:30 pm by CarlosMeat »

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #13 on: 11/07/2009 05:26 pm »
The whole Soviet moonshot, when you boil it down, came to be a case of conflicting Egos.  Glushko in 1961 approached Korolev about a compromize, Glushko would stop pushing for bi-propellants if Korolev would allow for a "packet" scheme, which they had used successfully years before in developing the R-7 "Sputnik".  Korolev rejected the offer, and thus the Soviet moon shot suffered as a result.  Glushko was an engine genius on par with Korolev's rocket genius.  If these two had worked together on the same rocket, instead of Korolev on the N-1 and Glushko on the Proton, I can easily imagine the history of the lunar landing turning out quite differently.

I'd argue that it was more complex than that (surprise!).  Even if these guys had gotten along better, there was still the issue of funding and a clear directive from the leadership.  They didn't have that.  There were military leaders who argued (correctly) that this was taking money away from strategic missile development. 

The US didn't really have that problem.  The US had a lot of money and could spend it on both ICBMs and Apollo.

Offline Downix

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #14 on: 11/08/2009 02:01 am »
The whole Soviet moonshot, when you boil it down, came to be a case of conflicting Egos.  Glushko in 1961 approached Korolev about a compromize, Glushko would stop pushing for bi-propellants if Korolev would allow for a "packet" scheme, which they had used successfully years before in developing the R-7 "Sputnik".  Korolev rejected the offer, and thus the Soviet moon shot suffered as a result.  Glushko was an engine genius on par with Korolev's rocket genius.  If these two had worked together on the same rocket, instead of Korolev on the N-1 and Glushko on the Proton, I can easily imagine the history of the lunar landing turning out quite differently.

I'd argue that it was more complex than that (surprise!).  Even if these guys had gotten along better, there was still the issue of funding and a clear directive from the leadership.  They didn't have that.  There were military leaders who argued (correctly) that this was taking money away from strategic missile development. 

The US didn't really have that problem.  The US had a lot of money and could spend it on both ICBMs and Apollo.
You know Glushko's moon-rocket design was derived from his rapid turnaround ICBM design, yes?  He was brilliant in being able to pair his ambitions with the militarys need.  Which is how they had the R-7 in the first place.

I could easily have seen him push just this kind of solution, adapting Korolev's R-7 approach of throwaway boosters to the moon program.  I highly suspect the resulting craft would have looked nothing like the N-1, and instead have looked closer to the latter Energia or Vulkan design.  The boosters, in this case I'll assume would be a kerolox form of the Proton, would have been ICBM's in and of themselves, and ready in 1964, with the central core approved in 1962, when the N-1 was approved, and ready by 1968.  It would have looked nothing like the UR-700 of Glushko or the N-1 of Korolev.  I truely think that by the marriage of the two, the program would have not only worked, it would have played right into the militaries needs as well, reducing the cost as well as lifting up the world image. 

But this is not what happened.  Ego's conflicted, needs were fighting against each other, and the race was won by the US.
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Offline sbt

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #15 on: 11/08/2009 03:04 am »

But this is not what happened.  Ego's conflicted...

It was rather more than ego.

In 1938 Glushko 'Denounced' Korolev, leading to his torture and assignment to a labour camp (a Gold Mine) where he suffered permanent damage to his health (including the loss of all his teeth).

He was retrieved from there rapidly, re-tried and assigned to a 'sharashka' - a prison where scientists did work for the state. He initially went to Tuplov but moved in 1942 to work in a prison with our old friend Glushko, who had by this time been denounced himself. Glushko was Korolevs boss.

Everybody in Korolevs pre-war group was denounced. Korolev was the only one that didn't end up being shot and he was in constant fear of the same fate during his time in prison.

Glushko was one of the principle instigators of his torture, Labour Camp time and Prison time and was then his boss in prison with the possibility that any criticism of his work would have led to Korolevs death.

So, rather more than a clash of egos.

Rick
« Last Edit: 11/08/2009 03:07 am by sbt »
I am not interested in your political point scoring, Ad Hominem attacks, personal obsessions and vendettas. - No matter how cute and clever you may think your comments are.

Offline Downix

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #16 on: 11/08/2009 04:13 am »

But this is not what happened.  Ego's conflicted...

It was rather more than ego.

In 1938 Glushko 'Denounced' Korolev, leading to his torture and assignment to a labour camp (a Gold Mine) where he suffered permanent damage to his health (including the loss of all his teeth).

He was retrieved from there rapidly, re-tried and assigned to a 'sharashka' - a prison where scientists did work for the state. He initially went to Tuplov but moved in 1942 to work in a prison with our old friend Glushko, who had by this time been denounced himself. Glushko was Korolevs boss.

Everybody in Korolevs pre-war group was denounced. Korolev was the only one that didn't end up being shot and he was in constant fear of the same fate during his time in prison.

Glushko was one of the principle instigators of his torture, Labour Camp time and Prison time and was then his boss in prison with the possibility that any criticism of his work would have led to Korolevs death.

So, rather more than a clash of egos.

Rick
It was a state of "Give up your enemies before they give you up" and both men knew that.  After both were released, they worked together on numerous occasions for the next 13 years. 

I don't think many people can appreciate the state of absolute paranoia that overtook the USSR under Stalin, it became, truely, a "get them before they get you" mentality took over.  A sad section of human history indeed.
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Offline CarlosMeat

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #17 on: 11/08/2009 12:02 pm »
Could we get some comments on the original post regarding the lifting capacity, the lander, LOR experience and computer for G&N and landing rather than the pre-war prison camps ?


Offline otisbow

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #18 on: 11/08/2009 12:34 pm »
The Soviet Union could not beat the US to the moon because of the way the Soviet system works.
« Last Edit: 11/08/2009 12:35 pm by otisbow »

Offline Cbased

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #19 on: 11/08/2009 01:22 pm »
http://kuasar.narod.ru/history/ussr-moon-program/lk.htm (in Russian)

Initial weight of LK was 2.2t (and had 2 people). It had to be increased to 5.5t (with only 1 pilot).
Weight reduction problem - for every 1kg that could be saved there were money given (60 roubles)
4-beam radar system was tested on E-8 automatic lunar lander series.
There was automatic landing planned (for unmanned configurations of the lander)
Control system: based on military rockets navigation systems. Control of all 4 major steps - approach, landing, launch from lunar surface, docking on LLO. Main input sources - radar and gyroscopes. All calculations were performed in 3 separate independent streams (to reduce chances of any errors). Speed - 20,000 operations/sec.

Offline Downix

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #20 on: 11/08/2009 01:41 pm »
The Soviet Union could not beat the US to the moon because of the way the Soviet system works.
Yes, the Soviet system enabled competition between the two major houses, rather than a central agency forcing natural competitors to instead cooperate.

The irony in the soviet system being more capitalistic.
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Offline William Barton

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #21 on: 11/08/2009 02:36 pm »
The Soviet Union could not beat the US to the moon because of the way the Soviet system works.
Yes, the Soviet system enabled competition between the two major houses, rather than a central agency forcing natural competitors to instead cooperate.

The irony in the soviet system being more capitalistic.

I have called the whole Korolev/Glushko/Chelomei thing "office politics." And I've seen some very large US corporations all but paralyzed by it.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #22 on: 11/08/2009 09:44 pm »
I have called the whole Korolev/Glushko/Chelomei thing "office politics." And I've seen some very large US corporations all but paralyzed by it.

Go back and reread the earlier post about the prison camps.

It's a little hard to pass this stuff off as "ego" or "office politics" when people were imprisoned and nearly killed because of the actions of others.  Those kinds of things are a little hard for people to forgive.

Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #23 on: 11/08/2009 09:50 pm »
Yes, the Soviet system enabled competition between the two major houses, rather than a central agency forcing natural competitors to instead cooperate.

The irony in the soviet system being more capitalistic.

This is really a misreading of the entire political system.

One of the problems with authoritarian regimes is that the winners in struggles never have any legitimacy.  As a result, the losers are constantly fighting to oppose the winners.  Don't like the fact that you lost the contract?  Keep fighting and wait for a new premier, and then maybe you will come out on top too.  There are a number of examples of this in the Soviet system.

That doesn't happen (as much) in the American capitalist system.  The companies that lost the contracts for the Apollo capsule, the lunar module, and the Saturn V did not keep fighting the decisions.  They acceded defeat and moved on.*

There was a great short article in Air & Space magazine several years ago written by a guy who was involved in a losing bid for the S-II stage for the Saturn V.  He wrote about how they had to construct the stage inland and then move it out to the sea.  So in their bid proposal, they did a massive route survey, figuring out all of the telephone lines that would have to be removed, bridges bypassed, and so on, in order to get their stage to the water.  When they lost, they saw how North American proposed to do it:  build it near the water.  He acknowledged that this was a better idea, and it was why NAA won the contract.



*(Yes, a footnote)  This has changed in recent years in the US with companies protesting losing bids and seeking to have them reversed.  The USAF tanker decision is the best example, but there are quite a few others.

Offline Nickolai

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #24 on: 11/09/2009 03:14 am »
It really doesn't seem prudent to turn this into a thread about communism vs. capitalism, democracy vs. authoritarianism, etc.

FWIW, from my point of view, the USSR clearly had the technical capability to go to the moon, but lacked, as other have noted the political will (alright, so they may have chosen not to develop LOX/LH2 tech like America, but in general they were capable). It's not very different from America at the beginning of the decade, when the technical capability to send humans to orbit was there, but simply not enough political impetus to get it done faster.

Trying to get back on topic, I know that the LOR after the lunar landing was to be done by hand. They arranged a number of hexagonal ports on the top of the lunar lander ascent stage so the pilot of the orbiting ship would have a higher tolerance to deal with when docking. Anatoly Zak published a lot of info about the Soviet LK on his site this past summer, it's worth taking a look at: http://www.russianspaceweb.com/lk.html

Offline CarlosMeat

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #25 on: 11/09/2009 11:46 am »
http://kuasar.narod.ru/history/ussr-moon-program/lk.htm (in Russian)

Initial weight of LK was 2.2t (and had 2 people). It had to be increased to 5.5t (with only 1 pilot).
Weight reduction problem - for every 1kg that could be saved there were money given (60 roubles)
4-beam radar system was tested on E-8 automatic lunar lander series.
There was automatic landing planned (for unmanned configurations of the lander)
Control system: based on military rockets navigation systems. Control of all 4 major steps - approach, landing, launch from lunar surface, docking on LLO. Main input sources - radar and gyroscopes. All calculations were performed in 3 separate independent streams (to reduce chances of any errors). Speed - 20,000 operations/sec.


Wow ,thanks !  That is what I was looking for. So there had been tests of both computers and navigation systems that were close to Apollo at least.
« Last Edit: 11/09/2009 11:47 am by CarlosMeat »

Offline William Barton

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #26 on: 11/09/2009 12:05 pm »
I have called the whole Korolev/Glushko/Chelomei thing "office politics." And I've seen some very large US corporations all but paralyzed by it.

Go back and reread the earlier post about the prison camps.

It's a little hard to pass this stuff off as "ego" or "office politics" when people were imprisoned and nearly killed because of the actions of others.  Those kinds of things are a little hard for people to forgive.

The quotes around "office politics" do carry some content. In any case, however bitter Korolev may have felt about his time as a Zek, it didn't stop him from doing his job later. But, perhaps ironically, it surely contributed to his early death, which in turn surely contributed to the failure of the Soviet lunar program. Unintended consequences.

PS: You might do better not trying to read so much ignorance into some commentary. History is much more open to interpretation than, for example, aerospace enginneering. You can disagree with someone without asserting they haven't read a certain post, using their failure to mention each and every detail of each and every previous post, refuting each assertion as they do so. It isn't worth the time and effort, and it always makes one miss the point. YMMV, of course.

Offline carmelo

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #27 on: 11/09/2009 03:11 pm »
If the Soviets had successful in their subsequent attempts with N1,and had a manned landing in 1970 or 1971,this would affect the American programs about the moon?

Offline kch

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #28 on: 11/09/2009 03:18 pm »
If the Soviets had successful in their subsequent attempts with N1,and had a manned landing in 1970 or 1971,this would affect the American programs about the moon?


I would think so.

Offline Archibald

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #29 on: 11/09/2009 03:43 pm »
Sure. this would fuel up competition, and competition with the soviets was Apollo best chance to stay alive.

The soviets had some interesting lunar lander projects in the jigs - L3M and LEK.
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Offline Blackstar

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #30 on: 11/09/2009 03:45 pm »
PS: You might do better not trying to read so much ignorance into some commentary.

I was not assuming ignorance.  I was disagreeing with the characterization of extreme events as somehow petty (i.e. "ego" or "office politics").  There was nothing petty about their attitudes.

Offline William Barton

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #31 on: 11/09/2009 04:02 pm »
PS: You might do better not trying to read so much ignorance into some commentary.

I was not assuming ignorance.  I was disagreeing with the characterization of extreme events as somehow petty (i.e. "ego" or "office politics").  There was nothing petty about their attitudes.

Okay. I would say "petty" is a mischaracterization of what I was saying, but I can see the interpretation. I wasn't dismissing what happened in the Soviet Union with the comparison, so much as scaling it. People do die even from genuinely petty office politics (Sumitomo being a particular good example), but that's not the most usual result. What happens inside US corporations is limited by the existence of higher authorities, not by some natural limitation on the personalities involved, or the actual nature of the larger economic systems.

Offline Danny Dot

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #32 on: 11/23/2009 01:36 pm »
On guidance, navigation, and control for a lunar rendezvous, I read some Apollo man in the loop tests that showed a good lunar ascent and rendezvous can be done by looking out the window for attitude and having a radar altimeter.  The minimum amount of equipment on the ascent vehicle is very, very small. 

Of course when I announced this fact in a room full of NASA engineers at the start of Exploration to simplify the design of the lander, I was laughed off the stage for being so stupid.  Nobody wanted to even hear the reference that the data was generated at Johnson Space Center in 1963 using Apollo astronauts to fly a high fidelity simulation.  I am sure NASA ended up sticking a bunch of IMUs and computers in the lander rather than use the simple hand flown backup.

Danny Deger
Danny Deger

Offline William Barton

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #33 on: 11/23/2009 02:05 pm »
On guidance, navigation, and control for a lunar rendezvous, I read some Apollo man in the loop tests that showed a good lunar ascent and rendezvous can be done by looking out the window for attitude and having a radar altimeter.  The minimum amount of equipment on the ascent vehicle is very, very small. 

Of course when I announced this fact in a room full of NASA engineers at the start of Exploration to simplify the design of the lander, I was laughed off the stage for being so stupid.  Nobody wanted to even hear the reference that the data was generated at Johnson Space Center in 1963 using Apollo astronauts to fly a high fidelity simulation.  I am sure NASA ended up sticking a bunch of IMUs and computers in the lander rather than use the simple hand flown backup.

Danny Deger

Why would any engineer, know that a numerous pilots could fly non-computerized, manually 3-axis controlled helicopters over poorly mapped hostile territory in the early 1950s (Korea, for example) assume that a comparably skilled pilot couldn't fly a lunar lander down from low lunar orbit to the ground without difficulty? As far as I can tell, you could even have the same control inputs as a helicopter. The collective pitch control of a helicopter doesn't throttle the engine, but it accomplishes the same goal (increasing/decreasing thrust). What would you need, besides throttle, stick, rudder, and radar (for altitude and ground track velocity)? Some systems gauges and a flight engineer to watch them? And for ascent, what is really different? Pilots make rendezvous with moving targets all the time (aerial tankers, carriers at sea, etc., and an orbiting command module is moving on a pretty predictable path. Didn't Aldrin do his Gemini/Agena rendezvous calculations with a slide rule?
« Last Edit: 11/23/2009 02:08 pm by William Barton »

Offline spaceman3

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #34 on: 11/25/2009 04:01 am »

But this is not what happened.  Ego's conflicted...

It was rather more than ego.

In 1938 Glushko 'Denounced' Korolev, leading to his torture and assignment to a labour camp (a Gold Mine) where he suffered permanent damage to his health (including the loss of all his teeth).

He was retrieved from there rapidly, re-tried and assigned to a 'sharashka' - a prison where scientists did work for the state. He initially went to Tuplov but moved in 1942 to work in a prison with our old friend Glushko, who had by this time been denounced himself. Glushko was Korolevs boss.

Everybody in Korolevs pre-war group was denounced. Korolev was the only one that didn't end up being shot and he was in constant fear of the same fate during his time in prison.

Glushko was one of the principle instigators of his torture, Labour Camp time and Prison time and was then his boss in prison with the possibility that any criticism of his work would have led to Korolevs death.

So, rather more than a clash of egos.

Rick

Without distracting the thread from a discussion of Soviet manned lunar hardware, I just wanted to clarify a couple of points:

-- Glushko never denounced Korolev. When Korolev was arrested and tortured, he was *told* that Glushko denounced him. Hence in a number of letters Korolev wrote from prison, he names Glushko (and others) as the folks who denounced him. He didn't know the truth until later.

-- Glushko was NOT "one of the principle [sic] instigators of his torture" etc. Glushko had nothing to do with what happened to Korolev in prison. Korolev did have a professional rival in the 1930s (a man named Andrei Kostikov) who was much more guilty of that charge.

-- "Everybody in Korolevs pre-war group was denounced. Korolev was the only one that didn't end up being shot and he was in constant fear of the same fate during his time in prison."

Also, not true. As far as historians can tell, seven people from Korolev's institute were arrested in the late 1930s (of several hundred who worked there). Of those, two were shot, and the other five ended up various camps but survived.

-- Korolev and Glushko had a very cordial relationship through the 1950s. Glushko, in fact, gave a famous lecture in 1958 calling Korolev the greatest rocket scientist the Soviet Union had produced after Tsiolkovsky. Their relationship went totally sour only in the 1960s with the arguments having to do with the development of the R-9 ICBM and eventually the N1 superbooster.

Needless to say, this is not to take away from the horrors of Stalinism, but merely to point out that there are a lot of myths about Korolev's arrest that need to be dispelled.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #35 on: 05/06/2019 04:58 pm »
I came across an interesting photo online today; it shows a LOK trainer! Was not aware this was used at the time.
Image date is given as 1978, which is a bit mysterious as the Soviet lunar landing effort had been cancelled years earlier...

Source: https://ology.sh/conceive/fiziologiia-kosmosa/
« Last Edit: 05/06/2019 05:00 pm by lucspace »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #36 on: 05/07/2019 03:29 am »
I came across an interesting photo online today; it shows a LOK trainer! Was not aware this was used at the time.
Image date is given as 1978, which is a bit mysterious as the Soviet lunar landing effort had been cancelled years earlier...

Source: https://ology.sh/conceive/fiziologiia-kosmosa/
To me it looks like a Soyuz trainer. How can you see it's a LOK trainer, not a regular Soyuz trainer?
"I still don't understand who I am: the first human or the last dog in space." - Yuri Gagarin

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #37 on: 05/07/2019 04:58 am »
I came across an interesting photo online today; it shows a LOK trainer! Was not aware this was used at the time.
Image date is given as 1978, which is a bit mysterious as the Soviet lunar landing effort had been cancelled years earlier...

Source: https://ology.sh/conceive/fiziologiia-kosmosa/
To me it looks like a Soyuz trainer. How can you see it's a LOK trainer, not a regular Soyuz trainer?
The dome on the habitation module at the top left is a cupola window for use while docking with the LK. The design is unique to the LOK, you can see some more pictures of it at Astronautix, including from the inside.
http://www.astronautix.com/s/soyuz7k-lok.html

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #38 on: 05/07/2019 05:56 am »
I came across an interesting photo online today; it shows a LOK trainer! Was not aware this was used at the time.
Image date is given as 1978, which is a bit mysterious as the Soviet lunar landing effort had been cancelled years earlier...

Source: https://ology.sh/conceive/fiziologiia-kosmosa/

It is quite possible, that just there was no reason to throw away the LOK simulator. Given the similarity of the LOK and the Soyuz, I can even imagine that the LOK simulator remained in use for introductory training, when the details of instrumentation was not that important. Or, they was just proud on their own Lunar effort and showed the LOK simulator to important guests. (The less important members of the public were not supposed to know about the failed project.)

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #39 on: 05/07/2019 07:40 am »
It is definitely an LOK trainer, and this is a first time I see such hardware.
There are several photos of the LK tranier but, until now, no LOK trainer at all.

The 7K-LOK was a specific derived version of the original Soyuz 7K-OK, optimized for lunar orbital operations.
It was different in several ways:

1) The Orbital Module has the same dimensions of the nominal Soyuz but with different docking system, bulbous portholes, and the access/EVA port placed on top rather on bottom.
2) The Reentry Module has place for 2 crew members (rather 3 as in the nominal Soyuz) with no backup parachute, and so only one hatch for it (rather 2 as in the nominal Soyuz)
3) The Service module was completely different the one used in the nominal Soyuz version replaced by the Block-I.

The photo shows clearly the Orbital and Reentry module of a LOK.
You can also check it with my artwork (currently available on my "Spacecraft" book).

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #40 on: 05/07/2019 08:59 am »
There was a subtle difference in the shape of the LOK OM compared to that used on Soyuz. Easy to compare in this image: the second module from the left is a LOK OM, with its lower section slightly wider than the upper one.
« Last Edit: 05/07/2019 08:59 am by lucspace »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #41 on: 05/27/2023 07:20 pm »
New information about LKM (L3M) and LEK: https://aviaforum.ru/threads/istorija-n1-l3.49944/

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #42 on: 05/27/2023 07:22 pm »
And a little more.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #43 on: 05/27/2023 07:25 pm »
LK variant V-IV

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #44 on: 05/27/2023 07:26 pm »
LK-T

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #45 on: 06/28/2023 12:43 am »
Thank you Dmitri for posting these images.

Is there more information on the evolution from the RLA-150 launcher to the Vulkan and Energiya derivatives?

Also, what is the difference between the LKE and the LEK designs in overall mass, capabilities or dimensions?

What was the payload capacity of the Vulkan in its latest iterations, and could it send a fully loaded LEK to lunar orbit (OISL)?

In the image with the LKE Blok V in the Podsadka docking with a Soyuz, is that the same Soyuz configuration as the EPAS/ASTP Soyuz 19?

Thanks

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #46 on: 06/30/2023 02:46 pm »
Thank you Dmitri for posting these images.

Is there more information on the evolution from the RLA-150 launcher to the Vulkan and Energiya derivatives?

Also, what is the difference between the LKE and the LEK designs in overall mass, capabilities or dimensions?

What was the payload capacity of the Vulkan in its latest iterations, and could it send a fully loaded LEK to lunar orbit (OISL)?

In the image with the LKE Blok V in the Podsadka docking with a Soyuz, is that the same Soyuz configuration as the EPAS/ASTP Soyuz 19?

Thanks
Hi!
Apparently, LEK and LCE are one and the same.
Most likely, 7K-TM was used for "Subsidence." Soyuz-19 also belonged to the same family.
By the time the Vulcan project was stopped (1989), this launch vehicle could deliver a payload weighing 198 tons to LEO, and 43 tons to lunar orbit. More: http://www.buran.ru/htm/38-3.htm#vulkan

On the development of LVs Vulcan and Energia below will write in more detail.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #47 on: 06/30/2023 02:58 pm »
The family of RLA launch vehicles developed intensively in the period 1974-76, and even further.
"Energy" evolved from RLA-130, whereas "Vulcan" evolved from RLA-150.
Part of the history of RLA development is set out here: https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=3349.msg127542#msg127542
A general view of the last variant of "Vulcan" can be seen in the attached picture.
The evolution of the "Energy" configuration can be seen in another picture.
Also: http://www.buran.ru/htm/os-120.htm and http://www.buran.ru/htm/ok-92.htm

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #48 on: 06/30/2023 03:04 pm »
Something can be viewed in the attached materials.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #49 on: 07/07/2023 05:52 pm »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #50 on: 07/18/2023 10:56 pm »
These plans posted by Dmitry, they look heavy for an N-1 with Blok D, LOK.

Maybe they were intended for an N-1 equipped with a larger version of the Blok D braking stage, or for a two-launch scenario, where the LK V-IV or the TLK-D were launched by one N-1, and the crew spacecraft LOK was launched by another?

In particular the TLK-D looks truly heavier, includes a docking cone for an advanced version of the LOK, and a LRV (crewed Lunokhod). (It would be interesting to see what the design of such LOK would look like).

Thanks

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #51 on: 07/19/2023 05:08 pm »
The TLC project was developed simultaneously with the LCM project and was its competitor. Both projects provided for two launches of N-1F-type missiles. Both options provided for the assembly of the complex in lunar orbit (LOR). For TLC, it was supposed to use two manned ships (LOK and TLC-D), launched separately. Only one manned component (L3M ship) was used for N-1-L3M
« Last Edit: 08/02/2023 04:44 pm by Dmitry_V_home »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #52 on: 07/19/2023 05:12 pm »
The project of the lunar expedition with the LK "option B-IV" was considered in 1965-66. It provided for one launch of the N-1 rocket, in which the 4th stage (Block G) was replaced by a cryogenic stage. Due to this, the mass of the ship delivered to the moon significantly increased.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #53 on: 07/19/2023 05:14 pm »
During the studies on the LKM project, schemes with three N1 starts were also considered.
« Last Edit: 07/21/2023 02:32 pm by Dmitry_V_home »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #54 on: 07/25/2023 05:09 pm »
Many thanks to Dmitry V for posting the plans of the LOK NO and the TLK in the N-1F launcher!

So the scheme was to replace the N1 L3 with a two-launch misión scenario, with the original LK lunar lander replaced by a mini space station module NO (scientific compartment) and launching of a heavier TLK lander in a separate N1.

What would have been the designation of this misión plan?

And what would the appearance been of the complex LOK, NO, TLK, enlarged Blok D docked in orbit around the Moon?

Thanks.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #55 on: 08/02/2023 05:16 pm »
The  L3M with the D2 Block in lunar orbit

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #56 on: 08/02/2023 05:42 pm »
The Soviet lunar manned project survived 1974. V.P. Glushko canceled the N-1, but not the manned lunar expedition.
Moreover, Glushko considered this project his main task. Since 1974, the development of the Lunar Expeditionary Complex (LEK) has been actively carried out.
Different options were considered, including expeditions with one and two ships. The option of assembling LEKs in low-earth orbit with the launch of several reusable systems (future Buran) was also proposed.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #57 on: 08/02/2023 05:48 pm »
The expedition scheme with one LEK ship provided for one launch of a super-heavy RLA-150 launch vehicle. But a less preferred two-ship scheme (Landing Expeditionary and Orbiting Expeditionary) was also considered. They were supposed to be launched by two missiles of the RLA-130 type.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #58 on: 08/02/2023 05:54 pm »
A few more flight schemes (from top to bottom)
1) Single-launch single-ship
2) Two-launch single-ship
3) Two-launch two-ship

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #59 on: 08/02/2023 05:56 pm »
Assembly of the expeditionary complex using a reusable ship RLA-135

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #60 on: 08/02/2023 05:57 pm »
The RV of the LEK ship was noticeably different from the Soyuz ship
« Last Edit: 08/02/2023 06:46 pm by Dmitry_V_home »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #61 on: 08/02/2023 06:06 pm »
Lunar cargo ship and schemes of Soviet lunar bases

Offline saturnsky

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #62 on: 08/02/2023 06:07 pm »
Thanks for the specs and diagrams...

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #63 on: 08/02/2023 11:56 pm »
The family of RLA launch vehicles developed intensively in the period 1974-76, and even further.
"Energy" evolved from RLA-130, whereas "Vulcan" evolved from RLA-150.
Part of the history of RLA development is set out here: https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=3349.msg127542#msg127542
A general view of the last variant of "Vulcan" can be seen in the attached picture.
The evolution of the "Energy" configuration can be seen in another picture.
Also: http://www.buran.ru/htm/os-120.htm and http://www.buran.ru/htm/ok-92.htm

Thank you for sharing this.
I notice that the 1977 version with 4 tanks in the core stage - with the upper two LO2/LH2 tanks being jettisoned with a solid propellant system as described in B. Hendrickx's works and Gubanov's memoirs -  has only two interstages, whereas one would expect a set of 4 tanks to have 3, is it artistic license or were the upper two tanks supposed to have a common bulkhead?

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #64 on: 08/04/2023 11:11 am »
The expedition scheme with one LEK ship provided for one launch of a super-heavy RLA-150 launch vehicle. But a less preferred two-ship scheme (Landing Expeditionary and Orbiting Expeditionary) was also considered. They were supposed to be launched by two missiles of the RLA-130 type.

Based on the diagram of the LKE spacecraft you published earlier and the current diagram "Lunniy Korabl Ekspeditsionny po etapam..." the outer diameter of the RLA-150 appears to be about 9.2 meters, while some diagrams of the Vulkan rocket show its center core stage being about 9.4 meters in diameter, with the upper stage Vesubius only 7.75 meters in diam., the same as the Energia rocket core.

That seems too small for the size of the LKE/LEK ship, does this show that the single launch, single ship scenario was no longer being studied in the later phases of the Vulkan/LEK design and development process?

Thanks

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #65 on: 08/04/2023 12:07 pm »
Anatoly Zak has something about one of the advanced lunar projects on his subscription-only website. He just announced it the other day. I'll try to provide a link.

"First detailed look at the D2 space tug from the Soviet L3M lunar expeditionary complex designed to "outshine" the Apollo program:"

https://www.russianspaceweb.com/insider-content.html

« Last Edit: 08/05/2023 12:07 am by Blackstar »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #66 on: 08/04/2023 02:20 pm »
The outer diameter of the payload fairing of the RLA-150 rocket was 8370 mm. This was enough to accommodate a LEK ship with folded landing legs.
In its final form (1988), the Vulcan rocket had a fairing with a diameter of 9200 mm, while the diameter of the Block C was 7750 mm.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #67 on: 08/04/2023 11:10 pm »
Hi Dmitry, many thanks for the clarification.

_____________________________

Going back to the N1 L3S launches of 1969, it seems that both launches carried a version of the Zond spacecraft, L1S or L1A.

Is there a technical diagram (komponovochnaya skhema) of these payloads in the fairing of the N1 with the Blok D, Blok G, etcetera that indicates the masses of the components of the complex at Earth orbit insertion, after start to trans lunar trajectory, lunar orbit insertion, etc.?

Thank you and Greetings

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #68 on: 08/05/2023 01:14 pm »
I have not seen detailed official layouts. There is only a well-known photo of the L3S complex with the ship 11F92.
The mass of the complex in low Earth orbit in the launches of N1 No. 3L and 4L missiles was approximately 70.56 mt.
Mass of the fairing is 21.9 mt, including mass of LAS more than 7 mt.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #69 on: 08/05/2023 11:09 pm »
Hi!

It would be interesting to see what the internal arrangement of the N1 payload fairing was for the 3L and 5L flights.

I understand that the mission flight profile was for the L1A + LK adapter + Blok D to do an overflight around the Moon, and return to Earth without entering lunar orbit. Or was there the capability for the Blok D to fire to brake into lunar orbit?

The L1A spacecraft was supposed to photograph several sites on the lunar surface, but then how was it supposed to return to Earth? Was the Blok D stage still attached to the L1A through the LK adapter?

If not, I suspect the L1A might have been fitted with an auxiliary small rocket stage (razgonniy blok), to fire and accelerate into an Earth return trajectory.

I read somewhere that after the cancellation of the Soyuz 7K-9K-11K in tne mid 1960s a complex of auxilliary rocket stages Blok M and Blok N was studied to accomplish the same goal, overflight of the Moon after assembly of a spacecraft complex in low Earth orbit.

In particular the Blok N was a small hypergolic-fuelled rocket stage (?). Could that have been used in this instance (N1 3L and 5L)?

Thanks

« Last Edit: 08/06/2023 12:31 am by Oso Perez »

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #70 on: 09/29/2023 12:26 pm »
Landers in CGI.

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #71 on: 10/01/2023 11:20 am »
LOK and LEK for a two-ship expedition using a RLA-130A launch vehicle (1975)

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #72 on: 10/08/2023 02:04 pm »
Hi!

It would be interesting to see what the internal arrangement of the N1 payload fairing was for the 3L and 5L flights.

I understand that the mission flight profile was for the L1A + LK adapter + Blok D to do an overflight around the Moon, and return to Earth without entering lunar orbit. Or was there the capability for the Blok D to fire to brake into lunar orbit?

The L1A spacecraft was supposed to photograph several sites on the lunar surface, but then how was it supposed to return to Earth? Was the Blok D stage still attached to the L1A through the LK adapter?

If not, I suspect the L1A might have been fitted with an auxiliary small rocket stage (razgonniy blok), to fire and accelerate into an Earth return trajectory.

I read somewhere that after the cancellation of the Soyuz 7K-9K-11K in tne mid 1960s a complex of auxilliary rocket stages Blok M and Blok N was studied to accomplish the same goal, overflight of the Moon after assembly of a spacecraft complex in low Earth orbit.

In particular the Blok N was a small hypergolic-fuelled rocket stage (?). Could that have been used in this instance (N1 3L and 5L)?

Thanks

In flight, it was 3L planned for the 7K-L1A ship to enter lunar orbit using Block D. The expedition scheme in flight was 5L the same. In flight, 7L was supposed to enter the lunar orbit of the entire L3 complex.

To be honest, I've never heard of it. I know that there was a project of Blok M. This is a large cryogenic third stage in the rocket project N-1M

Offline sdsds

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #73 on: 11/03/2023 07:00 pm »
Unsure how much of this is already covered in this thread; it looks like Nick Stevens presents a nice summary here:
https://graphicsnickstevens.substack.com/p/1973-n1-l3m-project-details
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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #74 on: 11/03/2023 08:02 pm »
Hello,
I can see you are using RGANTD as reference, with some very technical and interesting documents. I however never understood nor found out how to use it. Could you please explain how to reverse engineer these links or find similar ones?

Many thanks, DD

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #75 on: 11/03/2023 10:27 pm »
Hello,
I can see you are using RGANTD as reference, with some very technical and interesting documents. I however never understood nor found out how to use it. Could you please explain how to reverse engineer these links or find similar ones?

Many thanks, DD

Hello DoubleDuck, and welcome to the forum!

I am not the author of the page I linked. In addition to asking your question here, you might want to ask directly at https://nick-stevens.com/contact/ .

I too am curious about the Russian State Archive of Scientific and Technical Documentation (RGANTD)
I think their website is at https://www.rgantd.ru/en/
 
Please do report back here anything of interest you discover!
« Last Edit: 11/03/2023 10:27 pm by sdsds »
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Online Dmitry_V_home

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Re: Soviet Moon Landing Project
« Reply #76 on: 11/04/2023 12:26 pm »
Hello,
I can see you are using RGANTD as reference, with some very technical and interesting documents. I however never understood nor found out how to use it. Could you please explain how to reverse engineer these links or find similar ones?

Many thanks, DD
Hi!
The main source of information on the program N-1 L-3 and its derivatives is Sergey Shamsutdinov, an employee of the RGANTD (one of the former editors of the Cosmonautics News magazine).
He shares information on the Cosmonautics News Forum in several topics:
https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=20505.0
https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=11262.20
https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=22751.0
https://forum.novosti-kosmonavtiki.ru/index.php?topic=19413.0

 

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