Encyclopedia Astronautica
1971.03.01 - N1-L3 loses remaining priority

The Soviet leadership regained some interest in the N1-L3, after the near-tragedy of Apollo 13. It was felt that the Americans might cancel the remainder of the Apollo programme, leaving the road to the moon clear for the Soviet Union. However the successful flight of Apollo 14 redeemed the project, and the Central Committee lost all interest in the N1-L3.

A completely modernised KORD engine control system had been developed for the booster, but without direction from above many factories refused to complete necessary components. For example, the Zagorsk Optico-mechanical Factory, which reported to the Ministry of Defence, was to have delivered 50 electronic black boxes for each N1. However the only N1 to fly with these units was number 7L, since delivery of these components was not finished until the end of 1971. Similar situations existed at other factories providing components, forcing work-arounds. Controlling the configuration of each launch vehicle became extremely difficult in such circumstances. Finally management was given a simple measure of the problem - percentage of equipment in each vehicle that was according to the bill of material. The balance was workarounds.

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