Encyclopedia Astronautica
L3M-1972



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L3M - Cutaway View
Cutaway views of early and later L3M manned lunar lander designs.
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LK with L3M mockup
LK with L3M-1972 mock-up at Energia
Credit: NASM
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L3M
External views of early and later L3M manned lunar lander designs.
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Soviet Lunar Landers
Landing stages for Soviet lunar expeditions. Top row, left to right: L3 original version; LK; LK-3; LK-700; two versions of the L3M; LEK for Energia-launched lunar landing. Bottom row, lunar base elements: Chelomei KLE; Chelomei Heavy Lunokhod; Barmin DLB base module; LZM, LZhM, Lunokhod, and LEK for Glushko LEK Vulkan-launched lunar base.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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'.

This L3M would have allowed stays of up to 90 days by a crew of three.

In July 1970 Kuznetsov was given authorization to design substantially improved versions of the N1 rocket engines. The N1 that would utilize these engines was designated the N1F and would have a payload to a 225 km orbit of 105,000 kg.

Full go-ahead to develop a liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen high energy upper stage for the N1F finally came in June 1970. The decision was made to develop a multi-engine Block Sr with a propellant mass of 66.4 metric tons. This single stage would be used in place of the previously-planned Blocks S and R to insert spacecraft of what was now termed the Lunar Expeditionary Complex (LEK) into low lunar orbit. It was also to be used to insert heavy spacecraft into geosynchronous orbit and on interplanetary trajectories.

The revised L3M for use with the Block Sr completed design in 1972. In this version the Soyuz capsule was completely enclosed in a pressurized 'hangar' (the OB, cocooned habitation block) which provided the crew with accommodation space. In this variant the crew could simply step out of the capsule into the hangar area without having to don space suits and conduct an EVA. This L3M would have had a mass of about 23 metric tons landed on the surface and have allowed stays of up to 90 days by a crew of three. The two-launch scenario would still be followed, with a single Block Sr from each N1 launch taking over duties of both the Blocks S and R in the previous plan. The DU engine block would perform the same ascent stage duties as the Block E of the original LK.

Characteristics

Crew Size: 2.

Gross mass: 25,000 kg (55,000 lb).
Height: 9.30 m (30.50 ft).
Span: 9.40 m (30.80 ft).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • L3M Russian manned lunar base. Study 1970-1972. Follow-on to the L3, a two N1-launch manned lunar expedition designed and developed in the Soviet Union between 1969 and 1974. More...

See also
  • Lunar Landers Lunar lander design started with the British Interplanetary Society's concept of 1939, followed by Von Braun's 3964 tonne monster of 1953. It then settled down to more reasonably-sized variants. Landers came in three main types: two stage versions, with the first stage being a lunar crasher that would brake the spacecraft until just above the lunar surface, then separate, allowing the second stage to land on the surface; two stage versions consisting of a descent stage that went all the way to the surface, and an ascent stage that would take the crew from the surface to lunar orbit or on an earth-return trajectory; and single stage versions, using liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellants. More...
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • 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. More...
  • N1F Russian heavy-lift orbital launch vehicle. The N1F would have been the definitive flight version of the N1, incorporating all changes resulting from the four flight tests of the vehicle, including the new Kuznetsov engines and 10% greater liftoff mass by using superchilled propellants in all stages. N1 8L would have been the first N1F configuration flight, with launch planned in the third quarter of 1975 at the time the project was cancelled. More...
  • 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...

Bibliography
  • 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.
  • Siddiqi, Asif A, The Soviet Space Race With Apollo, University Press of Florida, 2003.

L3M-1972 Chronology


1972 February 16 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1F.
  • N1-L3M moon landing draft project work authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: L3M-1972. Summary: Military-Industrial Commission (VPK) Decree 'On approval of work on the draft project for the N1-L3M two-launch lunar landing proposal' was issued..

1972 May 15 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1F.
  • N1-L3M development authorised. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: L3M-1972. Summary: Council of Chief Designers Decree 'On approval of the N1-L3M proposal' was issued..

1973 January 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1F-L3M.
  • N1-L3M - . Nation: USSR. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: L3M-1972. Summary: The first lunar expedition project, the N1-L3M, was studied in 1973..

1974 May 1 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 cancellation imminent - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Mishin; Ustinov; Keldysh. Program: Lunar L3. Spacecraft: LK; Soyuz 7K-LOK; MKBS; Mars 5NM; L3M-1972. Ustinov achieved a leadership consensus to kill the N1 by the beginning of May 1974. He achieved the agreement of the other Ministers on the Military-Industrial Commission, and finally Keldysh. Projects that were ongoing that were linked with the N1 included: the lunar base, MKBS space station, Mars robotic soil return spacecraft and manned expedition, a space radio telescope with a 100 m antenna, and multiple channel communications satellites. All of these died with the cancellation. If 8L had been successful, then after 1 or 2 further test launches, the N1-L3M could begin flying. That meant that the Soviet Union was within 3 to 4 years of establishing long-term lunar expeditions and a moon base. The Americans would have been leapfrogged. Instead, the leadership decided to develop a completely new heavy-lift launch vehicle, which never became operational before the Soviet Union collapsed.

1974 May 19 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1 launches suspended. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: L3M-1972. Summary: Ministry of Defence Decree 'On suspension of further launches of the N1' was issued..

1974 June 24 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • N1-L3 work suspended. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: Soyuz 7K-OK; LK; L3M-1972. Summary: TsKBEM Decree 'On suspension of work on the N1 -L3' was issued..

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