Soviet lunar launcher N-1 (11A52)

Russian variant


TzeKaBeJem under the leadership of Sergey.P.Koroljov initiated the work on the launcher, significantly more powerful than "VOSTOK" and "MOLNIJA" -"SOYUZ", in the begining of 60s. The last named were in use alreay and being based on R-7 ICBM were able to put approximately 7 tones on low Earth orbit (LEO).
September 9 1962 CPSU Central Comitee adopted the programme of N-1 launcher creation during 1962-1965. It has to be able to place 40-50 tones on LEO. It was planed to follow it with N-2 launcher 60-80 tones capacity. As soon as US "APOLLO" programme progressed it was desided to stop N-2 and convert N-1 in order to fullfill manned lunar programme. In the final configuration N-1 contained seven blocks: "A".", "B","V", "G"., " "Di"., "Yi". The first three were to place booster on LEO. They were arranged as it was never used. Fuel components were placed in spherical hanged tanks. The largest one - "A" block LOX tank has 12 m diameter. In order to prevent resonance phenomenons fuel components feed lines were going to the engines around tanks covered with special housings. The first stage ("A"-block) were mounted with 30 (24 initially) 154 t liquid propelant engines (LPE) NK-33 (11D111). They were designed in N.D.Kuznetsov design bureau. 24 LPE were located on the aft perimeter. Anothet 6 - in the aft center. "A" block multi engine mount was not tested on the Earth because of absence of money. This was the main technical matter of N-1 programme falue There were 8 X 179 t LPE NK-43 (11D112) mounted on the "B" block. "V" block (11V54) posessed 4 X 41 t LPE NK-39. Blocks "G", "D", "Je" and "I" were a part of interplanetary (lunar) spaceship L-3. For Moon reaching "G" block (11G56) were used. It has one LPE NK-31. "D" block (11D58) was to provide maneuring and damping near the lunar surface. Later this block was used in PROTON booster. After damping special lander (designed in M.K. Yangel design bureau) with one crew member was to perform soft landing on the Moon. Little time of this operations and specifick landing dynamics dictated high requirements to lander pilot and guidance system also. But this part of fligh was completely tested and prepared. After fulfilling of the scientific programme "Je" block was to place lander into lunar orbit. Than it was to dock lunar orbital spaceship LOK (Souz is using it's fragments) with the second crew member. Returning back to Earth was provided by "I" block. It was planned to use N-1 for more complicated and long lunar expeditions, creation of heavy orbital stations, interplanetary voyages. Without "A" block it can be used as more light class launcher.

based on the article: Alexandrov S.V., Andreev S.V. "Poljot" october 29 1991