Encyclopedia Astronautica
N1 1969


Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1 launch vehicle, developed by Russia in the 1960's, was to be the Soviet Union's counterpart to the Saturn V. The largest of a family of launch vehicles that were to replace the ICBM-derived launchers then in use, the N series was to launch Soviet cosmonauts to the moon, Mars, and huge space stations into orbit. In comparison to Saturn, the project was started late, starved of funds and priority, and dogged by political and technical struggles between the chief designers Korolev, Glushko, and Chelomei. The end result was four launch failures and cancellation of the project five years after Apollo landed on the moon. Not only did a Soviet cosmonaut never land on the moon, but the Soviet Union even denied that the huge project ever existed.

Data is for the N1 launch vehicle as flown. These test vehicles did not exceed 2735 tonnes liftoff mass and 70 tonne earth orbit payload capability. Four flight tests, all failures.

Stage Data - N1

  • Stage 1. 1 x N1 Block A. Gross Mass: 1,880,000 kg (4,140,000 lb). Empty Mass: 130,000 kg (280,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 50,300.000 kN (11,307,800 lbf). Isp: 330 sec. Burn time: 125 sec. Isp(sl): 284 sec. Diameter: 10.30 m (33.70 ft). Span: 16.90 m (55.40 ft). Length: 30.10 m (98.70 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 30. Engine: NK-15. Status: Out of Production. Comments: Includes 14,000 kg for Stage 1-2 interstage and payload fairing. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 15,000 kg propellant expended in thrust build-up and boil-off prior to liftoff. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962.
  • Stage 2. 1 x N1 Block B. Gross Mass: 560,700 kg (1,236,100 lb). Empty Mass: 55,700 kg (122,700 lb). Thrust (vac): 14,039.980 kN (3,156,313 lbf). Isp: 346 sec. Burn time: 120 sec. Diameter: 6.80 m (22.30 ft). Span: 9.80 m (32.10 ft). Length: 20.50 m (67.20 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 8. Engine: NK-15V. Status: Out of Production. Comments: Includes 3500 kg Stage 2-Stage 3 interstage. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 1,000 kg in propellants lost to boil-off prior to stage ignition. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962.
  • Stage 3. 1 x N1 Block V. Gross Mass: 188,700 kg (416,000 lb). Empty Mass: 13,700 kg (30,200 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,608.000 kN (361,492 lbf). Isp: 353 sec. Burn time: 370 sec. Diameter: 4.80 m (15.70 ft). Span: 6.40 m (20.90 ft). Length: 14.10 m (46.20 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 4. Engine: NK-21. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 4. 1 x N1 Block G. Gross Mass: 61,800 kg (136,200 lb). Empty Mass: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb). Thrust (vac): 445.996 kN (100,264 lbf). Isp: 353 sec. Burn time: 443 sec. Diameter: 4.40 m (14.40 ft). Span: 4.40 m (14.40 ft). Length: 9.10 m (29.80 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: NK-19. Status: Out of Production. Comments: Empty mass estimated.
  • Stage 5. 1 x N1 Block D. Gross Mass: 18,200 kg (40,100 lb). Empty Mass: 3,500 kg (7,700 lb). Thrust (vac): 83.300 kN (18,727 lbf). Isp: 349 sec. Burn time: 600 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.90 m (9.50 ft). Span: 2.90 m (9.50 ft). Length: 5.70 m (18.70 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-58. Status: Out of Production. Comments: Block D adapted as lunar crasher stage.

AKA: N-1 11A52; N-1; SL-15; 11A52; G-1.
Status: Retired 1972.
Gross mass: 2,735,000 kg (6,029,000 lb).
Payload: 70,000 kg (154,000 lb).
Height: 105.00 m (344.00 ft).
Diameter: 17.00 m (55.00 ft).
Thrust: 43,000.00 kN (9,666,000 lbf).
Apogee: 225 km (139 mi).
First Launch: 1969.02.21.
Last Launch: 1972.11.23.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • MPK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1956. This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was made by M Tikhonravov. More...
  • TMK-E Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1960. Feoktistov felt that the TMK-1 manned Mars flyby design was too limited. His design group proposed in 1960 a complete Mars landing expedition, to be assembled in earth orbit using two or more N1 launches. More...
  • TMK-1 Russian manned Mars flyby. Study 1959. In 1959 a group of enthusiasts in OKB-1 Section 3 under the management of G U Maksimov started engineering design of this first fantastic project for manned interplanetary travel. More...
  • Vostok Russian manned spacecraft. 13 launches, 1960.05.15 (Korabl-Sputnik 1) to 1963.06.16 (Vostok 6). First manned spacecraft. Derivatives were still in use in the 21st Century for military surveillance, earth resources, mapping, and biological missions. More...
  • OS Russian manned space station. Study 1960. In 1960 Korolev proposed a military orbital station (OS), with a crew of 3 to 5, orbiting at 350 to 400 km altitude. More...
  • L4-1960 Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1960. Lunar orbiter proposed by Korolev in January 1960. The spacecraft was to take 2 to 3 men to lunar orbit and back to earth by 1965. More...
  • L1-1960 Russian manned lunar flyby spacecraft. Study 1960. Circumlunar manned spacecraft proposed by Korolev in January 1960. The L1 would a man on a loop around the moon and back to earth by 1964. More...
  • TKS Heavy Space Station Russian manned space station. Study 1961. The TKS (Heavy Space Station, also known as TOSZ - Heavy Orbital Station of the Earth) was Korolev's first 1961 project for a large N1-launched military space station. More...
  • OS-1962 Russian manned space station. Study 1962. On 10 March 1962 Korolev approved the technical project "Complex docking of spacecraft in earth orbit - Soyuz". This contained the original Soyuz L1 circumlunar design. More...
  • OP Russian manned space station. Study 1962. Korolev's next attempt to win military support for development of the N-I was his fantastic 'Orbitalniy Poyas' (OP -Orbital Belt) scheme of 20 April 1962. More...
  • DLB Module Russian manned lunar habitat. Cancelled 1974. Basic module developed by Barmin's OKB from 1962 for the Zvezda Lunar Base. Cancelled, together with the N1 booster, in 1974. More...
  • L3-1963 Russian manned lunar lander. Study 1963. Korolev's original design for a manned lunar landing spacecraft was described in September 1963 and was designed to make a direct lunar landing using the earth orbit rendezvous method. More...
  • L4-1963 Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1963. The L-4 Manned Lunar Orbiter Research Spacecraft would have taken two to three cosmonauts into lunar orbit for an extended survey and mapping mission. More...
  • L5-1963 Russian manned lunar rover. Study 1963. The L-5 Heavy Lunar Self-Propelled Craft would be used for extended manned reconnaissance of the lunar surface. More...
  • Mavr Russian manned Mars flyby. Study 1963. A variation of the TMK-1 scenario by Maksimov's unit would still use a single N1 launch. However a flyby of Venus would be undertaken on the return voyage from Mars. More...
  • L3 Russian manned lunar expedition. Development begun in 1964. All hardware was test flown, but program cancelled in 1974 due to repeated failures of the project's N1 launch vehicle. More...
  • KK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1966. Work on the TMK project continued, including trajectory trade-off studies and refinement of the design. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-OK Russian manned spacecraft. 17 launches, 1966.11.28 (Cosmos 133) to 1970.06.01 (Soyuz 9). Development of a three-manned orbital version of the Soyuz, the 7K-OK was approved in December 1963. More...
  • OS-1 (1969) Russian manned space station. Study 1969. By 1969 the giant OS-1 space station had evolved to this configuration. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1 Russian manned lunar flyby spacecraft. 12 launches, 1967.03.10 (Cosmos 146) to 1970.10.20 (Zond 8). The Soyuz 7K-L1, a modification of the Soyuz 7K-OK, was designed for manned circumlunar missions. More...
  • L5-1967 Russian manned lunar lander. Study 1967. At a Lunar Soviet meeting in October 1967 preliminary agreement was reached to study a follow-on to the first N1-L3 lunar landings. A new N1 model was to be developed to launch a new 'L5' spacecraft. More...
  • L3M-1970 Russian manned lunar lander. Study 1970. The first design of the L3M lunar lander had the crew of two accommodated in a Soyuz capsule atop the lander. More...
  • DLB Lunar Base Russian manned lunar base. Substantial development activity from 1962 to cancellation in 1974. The N1 draft project of 1962 spoke of 'establishment of a lunar base and regular traffic between the earth and the moon'. More...
  • Mars 5NM Russian Mars lander. Cancelled 1974. The 5NM was the first attempt by the Lavochkin bureau to design and fly a Soviet Martian soil return mission. Design and development was undertaken from 1970 to 1974. More...
  • Luna Ye-8 Russian lunar rover. 3 launches, 1969.02.19 (Ye-8 s/n 201) to 1973.01.08 (Luna 21). More...
  • Soyuz 7K-L1A Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1969.02.21 (N-1 3L) to 1969.07.03 (N-1 5L). Hybrid spacecraft used in N1 launch tests. More...
  • Luna Ye-8-5 Russian lunar lander. 11 launches, 1969.06.14 (Ye-8-5 VA) to 1975.10.16 (Luna 24). Unmanned lunar soil sample return. More...
  • MKBS Russian manned space station. Cancelled 1974. The culmination of ten years of designs for N1-launched space stations, the MKBS would be cancelled together with the N1. More...
  • MEK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1969. The Mars Expeditionary Complex (MEK) was designed to take a crew of from three to six to Mars and back with a total mission duration of 630 days. More...
  • OS-1 Lunar Russian manned lunar orbiter. Study 1969. A version of the OS-1 station was proposed for use in lunar orbit. No other details beyond this sketch. More...
  • LK Russian manned lunar lander. 3 launches, 1970.11.24 (Cosmos 379) to 1971.08.12 (Cosmos 434). The LK ('Lunniy korabl' - lunar craft) was the Soviet lunar lander - the Russian counterpart of the American LM Lunar Module. More...
  • Soyuz 7K-LOK Russian manned lunar orbiter. 2 launches, 1971.06.26 (N-1 6L) to 1972.11.23 (LOK). The two-crew LOK lunar orbiting spacecraft was the largest derivative of Soyuz developed. More...
  • DLB Lunokhod 1 Russian manned lunar rover. Study 1971. One of several conceptual models of Lunokhod or Marsokhod pressurized surface rovers planned for Soviet moon or Mars expeditions. More...
  • DLB Lunokhod 2 Russian manned lunar rover. Study 1971. One of several conceptual models of Lunokhod or Marsokhod pressurized surface rovers planned for Soviet moon or Mars expeditions. More...
  • DLB Lunokhod 3 Russian manned lunar rover. Study 1971. One of several conceptual models of Lunokhod or Marsokhod pressurized surface rovers planned for Soviet moon or Mars expeditions. More...
  • L3M-1972 Russian manned lunar lander. Study 1972. Revised L3M design of the L3M lunar lander for use with the Block Sr crasher stage. The Soyuz return capsule was completely enclosed in a pressurized 'hangar'. More...

Associated Engines
  • 8D415K Kosberg Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1471 kN. Designed for use in N-1. Development canceled in 1960 when Korolev turned to Kuznetsov for R-9 and N-1 engines after continuous rows with Glushko over performance and propellant types. First flight 1966. More...
  • NK-15 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1544 kN. N-1 stage 1 (block A). Development ended 1964. On the basis of NK-9 the NK-15 was developed for the N-1 launcher. 30 were used on the Block A (Stage 1) of the N-1. Isp=318s. First flight 1969. More...
  • NK-15V Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 1648 kN. Development ended 1964. Isp=325s. Developed from the NK-9. 8 engines, featuring high-expansion nozzles, used on N1 Stage 2. First flight 1969. More...
  • NK-19 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. N-1 stage 4. Development ended 1964. Based on NK-9 engine. Originally developed for the modernized second stage of the R-9 (abandoned). Also to have been used on GR-1 / 8K713 Stage 2. First flight 1969. More...
  • NK-21 Kuznetsov Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. N-1 stage 3 (block V). Out of production. Based on NK-9 engine. Propellants kerosene T-1 / LOX. 4 engines used in N-1 stage 3 (block V). Isp=318s. Used on N1 launch vehicle. First flight 1969. More...
  • RD-54 Lyulka lox/lh2 rocket engine. 392 kN. N1 concept stage III. Developed 1960-75. Isp=440s. More...
  • RD-58 Korolev Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 83.4 kN. Isp=349s. High-performance upper-stage engine developed for N1 lunar crasher stage, but saw general use as restartable Block D upper stage of Proton launch vehicle. First flight 1967. More...

See also
Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Lunar L3 The Soviet program to land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Semenov, Yuri P Editor, Raketno-kosmicheskaya korporatsiya 'Energia' imeni S P Koroleva, Moscow, Russia, 1996.
  • Johnson, Nicholas L, The Soviet Reach for the Moon, Cosmos Books, Washington, DC, 1994.
  • Clark, Philip, The Soviet Manned Space Program, Salamander Books, London, 1988.
  • Oberg, James, Red Star in Orbit, Random House, New York, 1981.
  • Smolders, Peter,, Soviets in Space, Taplinger Press, New York, 1974.
  • Sorokin, Vladislav, "'Yantarnaya istoriya'", Novosti Kosmonavtiki, 1997, Issue 17, page 57.
  • Air International, 1992, Issue 9, page 149.
  • Pesavento, Peter, "An Examination of Rumored Launch Failures in the Soviet Manned Program", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1990, Volume 43, page 379.
  • Van den Abeelen, Luc, "Soviet Lunar Landing Programme", Spaceflight, 1994, Volume 36, page 90.
  • Peebles/CIA article in spaceflight on mid-60's.
  • Vick, Charles, "Soviet Orbital Station-1 Designed in 1965", Spaceflight, 1994, Volume 36, page 282.
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Vick, Charles, et al, KH-11 Photography of N1, Federation of American Scientists, 1995-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Pirard, Theo, "25 Years Ago...The Cosmonauts Missed the Moon!", Spaceflight, 1994, Volume 35, page 411.
  • Hendrickx, Bart, "Soviet Lunar Dream that Faded", Spaceflight, 1995, Volume 37, page 135.
  • Vick, Charles, "Korolev's Lunar Mission Profile", Spaceflight, 1996, Volume 38, page 264. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Vick, Charles, "THE MISHIN MISSION December 1962 - December 1993", Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, 1994, Volume 47, page 357. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Lebedev, D A, "The N1-L3 Programme", Spaceflight, 1992, Volume 34, page 288.
  • Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.
  • Przybilski, Olaf, and Wotzlaw, Stefan, N-1 Herkules - Entwicklung und Absturz einer Traegerrakete, Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Raumfahrtausstellung e.V., 1996.
  • Chertok, Boris Yevseyevich, Raketi i lyudi, Mashinostroenie, Moscow, 1994-1999.. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kamanin, N P, Skritiy kosmos, Infortext, Moscow, 1995.
  • Siddiqi, Asif A, The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, University Press of Florida, 2003.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Associated Stages
  • N1 Block A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,880,000/130,000 kg. Thrust 50,300.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 330 seconds. Includes 14,000 kg for Stage 1-2 interstage and payload fairing. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 15,000 kg propellant expended in thrust build-up and boil-off prior to liftoff. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962. More...
  • N1 Block B Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 560,700/55,700 kg. Thrust 14,039.98 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 346 seconds. Includes 3500 kg Stage 2-Stage 3 interstage. Compared to total fuelled mass excludes 1,000 kg in propellants lost to boil-off prior to stage ignition. Values as in draft project as defended on 2-16 July 1962. More...
  • N1 Block D Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 18,200/3,500 kg. Thrust 83.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 349 seconds. Block D as originally designed as a lunar crasher stage More...
  • N1 Block G Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 61,800/6,000 kg. Thrust 446.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 353 seconds. Empty mass estimated. More...
  • N1 Block V Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 188,700/13,700 kg. Thrust 1,608.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 353 seconds. As flown. More...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use