Sep 07

Space Rocket History #176 – The First Test Flight of the Soviet N1

Finally, on the morning of February 21, all the population of the N1 assembly area and a residential area, situated just south of the launch pad, was ordered to evacuate. The giant service structure then rolled away leaving the dark-gray rocket with a white payload fairing towering under sunny skies. The weather was extremely cold, with temperatures falling to minus 44 C degrees, and stormy winds.  In the fortified firing control room, the Commander of the 6th Directorate, took the firing command position at the main periscope…

Apollo CSM/LM vs. Soviet L3 Complex. Credit Mark Wade

Apollo CSM/LM vs. Soviet L3 Complex. Credit Mark Wade

N1 image taken by US KH-8 Reconnaissance satellite

N1 image taken by US KH-8 Reconnaissance satellite

N1 on the launch pad

N1 on the launch pad

Aug 31

Space Rocket History #175 – Early History of the Soviet N1 – Part 2

On August the third 1964 Decree number 655-268 was issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party. For the first time a command was given for OKB-1 to put one man on the moon and return him safely to earth before the United States (Keep in mind the US already had already begun their Lunar program more than three years earlier, in April 1961).

N1-L3 as per advanced project, 1964. Credit Astronautix

N1-L3 as per advanced project, 1964. Credit Astronautix

N-IF - 1965 design. Credit Astronautix

N-IF – 1965 design. Credit Astronautix

N1 diagram.

N1 diagram.

Aug 24

Space Rocket History #174 – Early History of the Soviet N1 – Part 1

The L-3 manned spacecraft was designed to make a direct lunar landing using the earth orbit rendezvous method. It was a 200 metric ton spacecraft requiring three N1 launches and a single Soyuz 11A5ll launch to assemble in low earth orbit. The first N1 launch would place the 75 metric ton partially-fueled Trans Lunar Injection stage and L3 spacecraft into low earth orbit. Two further N1 launches would orbit 75 metric ton tankers which would rendezvous and dock with the first payload and top off its propellant tanks. Then the Soyuz would be launched for an automated rear-end docking with the entire L3 stack.

Comparison of U.S. Saturn V with Soviet N1/L3

Comparison of U.S. Saturn V with Soviet N1/L3

N-1 draft project design of 1962. credit Astronautix

N-1 draft project design of 1962. credit Astronautix

N-1 Launch Diagram

N-1 Launch Diagram

Aug 17

Space Rocket History #173 – Soyuz 4 & 5 – World’s First Space Station? – Part 2

Vladimir Shatalov would become the Soviet Union’s 13th space traveler, his home telephone number ended in “13” and the launch itself was set for 13:00 hours Moscow Time, on January 13th, 1969.

Model of Soyuz 5 approaching Soyuz 4 prior to the first docking of 2 manned spacecrafts

Model of Soyuz 5 approaching Soyuz 4 prior to the first docking of 2 manned spacecrafts

Soyuz 5 mission patch

Soyuz 5 mission patch

Official portrait for Soyuz 4/5 cosmonauts, OKB-1, militay and government personnel. Credit Boris Chertok

Official portrait for Soyuz 4/5 cosmonauts, OKB-1, militay and government personnel. Credit Boris Chertok

Aug 10

Space Rocket History #172 – Soyuz 4 & 5 – World’s First Space Station? – Part 1

The objectives of the Soyuz 4 & 5 mission were to dock two manned Soyuz 7K-0Ks, transfer two Cosmonauts from Soyuz 5 to Soyuz 4 by means of a space walk, and then safely return both crews to earth.

Soyuz 4 & 5 crew (from left) Yeliseyev, Khrunov, Shatalov, and Volynov. Photo Credit:SpaceFacts.de

Soyuz 4 & 5 crew (from left) Yeliseyev, Khrunov, Shatalov, and Volynov. Photo Credit:SpaceFacts.de

Soyuz 4 launch

Soyuz 4 launch

Model of Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 after performing the first docking of two manned spacecraft on January 16th, 1969

Model of Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 after performing the first docking of two manned spacecraft on January 16th, 1969

Apr 27

Space Rocket History #158 – Soyuz 2 and 3

The soviets showed some confidence in their spacecraft by launching the unmanned Soyuz 2 first, but showed some caution by not sending a cosmonaut in Soyuz 2.

Soyuz 7K-oK assembly credit RKK Energia

Soyuz 7K-oK assembly credit RKK Energia

Georgi Beregovoy pilot of Soyuz 3

Georgi Beregovoy pilot of Soyuz 3

Soyuz 3 on the launch pad

Soyuz 3 on the launch pad