Encyclopedia Astronautica
L4-1963



l41963.jpg
L4 -1963
1963 L4 manned lunar orbiter.
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.

It was described in a 23 September 1963 letter setting out the space exploration plan for 1965 to 1975. The L-4 complex, with a total mass of 75 metric tons, would be placed into orbit in a single N1 launch

The L-4 would consist of:

  • The trans-lunar injection stage, total mass 58 metric tons. If development of a fourth stage for the N1 was not authorized, this could be replaced by three sequentially-fired Soyuz B 9KM rocket blocks developed for the L-1 and L-2 projects.
  • The lunar orbit maneuvering stage, which would have a total mass of 11.5 metric tons. This would break the Soyuz manned spacecraft into lunar orbit and returned it on its transearth trajectory. Five metric tons of propellant would be used for lunar orbit insertion.
  • The L-4 spacecraft, which would be a modification of the 7K Soyuz. This would have a mass of 5.5 metric tons after being placed on a transearth trajectory with a descent capsule mass of 2.5 metric tons.

Gross mass: 17,000 kg (37,000 lb).

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Lunar Orbiters Manned lunar orbiters and orbiting stations were rarely designed for this purpose alone, but usually used in a lunar-orbit rendezvous lunar landing scenario together with a separate lunar lander. They were more powerful than circumlunar manned spacecraft in that they required substantial propellant to brake into and get out of lunar orbit. 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...
  • 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
  • Vetrov, G S, S. P. Korolev i evo delo, Nauka, Moscow, 1998.

L4-1963 Chronology


1963 September 23 - .
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