Encyclopedia Astronautica
1987.05.15 - Polyus

Due to delays in completion of the enormous static test facility at Baikonur, which could test the entire Energia vehicle stack, it was decided to launch the vehicle without the verification the tests would provide. The launch of 6SL was planned for 11 May 1987 at 21:30 Moscow time. It was delayed five days when a leak was detected in the Block 3A electrical distribution section, then by another hour due to a fault LH2 thermostat. The launch vehicle performed successfully, but the Polyus payload failed to inject itself into orbit due to a guidance system failure.

30 years after the first R-7 launch, and 15 years after N1-7L, the first Energia flew. During the time it had taken to achieve this milestone, the N1 could have been developed to maturity, allowing a Russian moon base by 1980. A ticket to fly to such a Russian moon base in 1988 would have cost $100 million. This was what Von Braun had claimed a Saturn V ticket would have cost in 1965 - which would have been closer to $ 1 billion in 1988 dollars. The Americans had claimed in 1969 that a ticket aboard the shuttle would have cost $5 million, and it actually turned out to be $75 million. A ticket aboard a Soyuz flight cost $15 million in the 1990's.

More... - Chronology...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use