Encyclopedia Astronautica
N1 Nuclear AF


Russian nuclear orbital launch vehicle. A variant of the first alternative considered in the 1963 nuclear N1 study. This was a 'high thrust' version of the Type A engine - apparently with higher propellant rate, lower specific impulse, and lower engine weight. Due to the very low density of the enormous liquid hydrogen upper stages, these immense vehicles would have been very ungainly (and had interesting stress problems during ascent!)

LEO Payload: 300,000 kg (660,000 lb) to a 220 km orbit at 51.60 degrees. Payload: 27,100 kg (59,700 lb) to a lunar surface.

Stage Data - N1 Nuclear AF

  • Stage 1. 1 x N1 1962 - A. Gross Mass: 1,384,000 kg (3,051,000 lb). Empty Mass: 117,000 kg (257,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 39,420.000 kN (8,861,960 lbf). Isp: 331 sec. Burn time: 103 sec. Isp(sl): 296 sec. Diameter: 10.00 m (32.00 ft). Span: 17.00 m (55.00 ft). Length: 30.00 m (98.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 24. Engine: NK-15. Status: Study 1962. 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 Nuclear AF. Gross Mass: 800,000 kg (1,760,000 lb). Empty Mass: 150,000 kg (330,000 lb). Thrust (vac): 7,840.000 kN (1,762,500 lbf). Isp: 810 sec. Burn time: 650 sec. Diameter: 13.00 m (42.00 ft). Span: 13.00 m (42.00 ft). Length: 110.00 m (360.00 ft). Propellants: Nuclear/LH2. No Engines: 40. Engine: YaRD Type AF. Status: Study 1963. Comments: N1 nuclear upper stage study, 1963. Figures calculated based on given total stage thrust, specific impulse, engine mass.

Status: Study 1963.
Gross mass: 2,500,000 kg (5,500,000 lb).
Payload: 300,000 kg (660,000 lb).
Height: 200.00 m (650.00 ft).
Diameter: 17.00 m (55.00 ft).
Thrust: 35,000.00 kN (7,868,000 lbf).
Apogee: 220 km (130 mi).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • 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...
  • YaRD Type AF Korolev nuclear/lh2 rocket engine. 196 kN. Study 1963. Design considered in N1 nuclear upper stage studies. Outgrowth of work done by Bondaryuk and Glushko on YaRD engines for nuclear ICBM's, but using liquid hydrogen as propellant. Isp=950s. More...

See also
  • N1 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. More...

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

Associated Stages
  • N1 1962 - A Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 1,384,000/117,000 kg. Thrust 39,420.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 331 seconds. Earlier design for the Block A. 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 Nuclear AF Nuclear/LH2 propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 800,000/150,000 kg. Thrust 7,840.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 810 seconds. N1 nuclear upper stage study, 1963. Figures calculated based on given total stage thrust, specific impulse, engine mass. More...

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