[FPSPACE] N-1 flights

Phillip Clark phillipclark at btinternet.com
Sat Jul 4 11:52:57 EDT 2009

Interesting, but it still does not answer the obvious question "why?"...........

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Charles Vick 
  To: 'Phillip Clark' ; 'FPSPACE' 
  Sent: Saturday, July 04, 2009 4:30 PM
  Subject: RE: [FPSPACE] N-1 flights

  Declassified US intelligence documents confirm you analysis on the 7L mission as being correct for launch from the Pacific side of the globe descending node


  -----Original Message-----
  From: fpspace-bounces at friends-partners.org [mailto:fpspace-bounces at friends-partners.org] On Behalf Of Phillip Clark
  Sent: Saturday, July 04, 2009 11:06 AM
  Subject: [FPSPACE] N-1 flights

  I am not sure that the logic of Ed Cameron's is correct.

  From Chertok's memoires we know that the first N-1 launch was intended to put a "Heavy Zond", L-1S, into orbit around the Moon and then return it to Earth after ~two days in selenocentric orbit.   My detailed analysis of the mission profile is given in my paper "Analysis of Soviet Lunar Missions", Space Chronicle: JBIS, Vol. 57, Suppl. 1, pp.3-41, 2004.

  So, why could the second N-1 mission not have had the same objectives?   Do we know from Soviet sources - rather than western guesswork and fantasies - that the payload stack for 5L was different from 3L?   Given that Apollo 11 was about to happen, the Soviets might have seen such a successful unmanned mission as putting the pressure on the US mission planners to succeed with the landing, with the Soviets appearing to be close to emulating Apollo 8 less than seven months earlier.

  Of course, we know from Soviet sources that the 3L and 5L missions were "all up" N-1 configurations, just as were Apollos 4 and 6.

  It would be interesting to know from original Soviet sources what the production rate was for the N-1 for flights starting in 1969 - would they have had as many N-1 vehicles available as the US had Saturn-5s in the 1968-1969 period?

  Setting the N-1 to one side, with the US programme, a pacing item would appear to have been the LK, which in reality did not start bits test flights until Cosmos 379 in November 1970.   Could that test programme have been accelerated with perhaps two T2K missions before the end of 1969, leading to a manned landing during 1970?   That would have been interesting, given the Apollo 13 failure.

  I would be fascinated to see the 6L shroud configuration which Ed says that he has - the last time I looked I don't recall it being on his web site.

  Now to 7L.   My 2004 paper reviews the flight plan which Mishin apparently approved, calling for a full LOK with a dummy LK to be placed in selenocentric orbit and returned to Earth.   As my analysis shows, a slight problem is that the N-1 was launched in a direction that appears to be away from the Moon.   One way round this is for TLI to take place close to a descending node of the orbit, thus 180 deg away from the normal ascending node TLI point which the Soviets used on all previous and subsequent missions to the Moon - in the Luna, Zond/L-1 and Zond/L-1S programmes.   Why the change of profile for this one mission?

  Calculations still throw up some anomalies for the L-1/L-1S/LOK launches which took place: foe example, the unusual launch windows used for the failures of April 1968 and January 1969.   And was the July 1968 mission intended as a second simulated lunar flight like Zond 4 or an actual circumlunar flight like Zond 5?

  Phillip Clark

  ----- Original Message ----- 

    From: Edwin Cameron 

    To: fpspace at friends-partners.org 

    Sent: Saturday, July 04, 2009 10:34 AM

    Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Any input?

            Charlie, et al,

            First, I congratulate the engineers, constructors and designers of the N1 for putting twelve men onto the surface of the Moon.  Yes, they were astronauts not cosmonauts.  Nonetheless, it was the very presence of the N1 program, seen from orbiting reconnaissance satelites, that pushed the United States' Congress to continue the Apollo program.  Without the visible progress of the N1 program, it is not likely that Saturn V Apollo missions would have continued to a Moon landing.

            Four launched payloads on boosters 3L, 5L, 6L and 7L, each was different from the others.  But, each booster was also different.  Only one of these was launched in haste to beat Apollo 11...  What was the rush?  Apollo 8 had already orbited the Moon, so a simple slingshot L1-type PROTON mission made absoultely no sense.  After Apollo 8, a crewless N1 L1-type mission (3L) didn't seem quite plausible.  For the July 3, 1969 5L launch attempt, a manned mission more like Apollo 10 would have better fit the hurried N1 timetable, if not the full fledged lunar landing attempt.

            I believe the statement by M. Keldysh after the conclusion of the Soyuz 6, 7 & 8 flights in 1969 made it pretty clear that the Soviet side of the Moon Race was over and that permanent presence in orbit was their redirected goal.  I have tried for many of the nearly 38 years to find definitive photos or video of the N1 - 6L launch, especially since V.K. Karrask sketched his version of an N1 shroud in my notes, July 1991.  It was NOT an L1 or L3 shroud. 

            I still hope we'll find the answers, and the history as it actually happened, not just the way some wanted it to appear.



            Date: Thu, 02 Jul 2009 10:55:10 -0400
            From: "Charles Vick" <cpvick at globalsecurity.org>
            Subject: [FPSPACE] Any input?

            July 3rd cometh and we still after forty years do not know what the 5L
            payload was or do we? 

            Does anybody have any real input to this since it is now known that none of
            the other N1 payloads were identical to the other previous and subsequent



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