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MPK - Concept
MPK - Concept
No drawing of the MPK design of 1956 is available, but it would have consisted of clusters of N1-launched rocket stages.
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1956. This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was made by M Tikhonravov.

AKA: Martian Piloted Complex. Status: Study 1956. Gross mass: 1,630,000 kg (3,590,000 lb). Specific impulse: 310 s.

His Martian Piloted Complex (MPK) would have a mass of 1,630 metric tons and land a crew on Mars on a 30-month expedition.

In Korolev's defense of the N1 draft project in July 1962 he stated that he first sketched out the N1 design in 1956-1957. The requirement at that time was to support a large manned expedition to Mars. This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was initiated by M Tikhonravov's section of Korolev's OKB-1. The study group first considered a complete manned expedition to Mars. This followed the classic scenario worked out by Von Braun's group in their Mars Project of 1948. The Martian Piloted Complex would be assembled in low earth orbit. Using conventional liquid propellants, it would fly a Hohmann trajectory, enter Martian orbit, and a landing craft would descend to the surface. After just over a year of surface exploration, the crew would return to earth. It was calculated that the initial mass of the MPK would be 1,630 metric tons, and a re-entry vehicle of only 15 metric tons could be returned to earth at the end of the 30 month mission. At the planned N1 payload mass of 75 to 85 metric tons, it would take 20 to 25 N1 launches to assemble the MPK.

MPK Mission Summary:

  • Summary: First Soviet study for a manned Mars expedition.
  • Propulsion: LOX/Kerosene
  • Braking at Mars: propulsive
  • Mission Type: conjunction
  • Split or All-Up: all