Encyclopedia Astronautica
TMK-1



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TMK - onto Mars!
TMK in Trans-Mars injection manoeuvre.
Credit: Gleb Aleksushin
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Mavr Mars Spacecraft
A model of the Mars flyby spacecraft 'Mavr' at the Tsniimash museum. Mavr was a revision of the TMK in the mid-1960's to incorporate a flyby of Venus on the return leg of the voyage. This would reduce propulsion requirements and total time for the primary Mars flyby mission.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Mavr Spacecraft
MAVR Mars-Venus flyby spacecraft. The original TMK was similar.
Credit: © Mark Wade
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Mavr
Mavr spacecraft model at TsNIIMASH. The TMK-1 was similar
Credit: © Mark Wade
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.

The 75 metric ton TMK-1 spacecraft would take a crew of three on a Mars flyby mission. After a 10.5 month flight the crew would race past Mars, dropping remote controlled landers, and then be flung into an earth-return trajectory. The first flight to Mars of the TMK-1 was planned to begin on June 8, 1971, with the crew returning to the earth on July 10, 1974, after a voyage of three years, one month, and two days.

There seemed no prospect of the gigantic MPK Mars expedition project being approved or accomplished within a reasonable time span. So a more realistic initial Mars or Venus flyby mission became the basis of the next study. The concept was for a manned spacecraft, the 'Heavy Piloted Interplanetary Spacecraft (TMK, retrospectively called TMK-1), to be launched by a single N1. The requirements for executing this project would shape the specifications for the N1 launch vehicle. One reason the Soviet Union did not beat America in the moon race was that the N1 was sized to launch the TMK-1 rather than a direct-landing moon mission.

The three-crew TMK-1 would be placed in near-earth orbit by one launch of the N1. There were two variants of the next mission phase. In the first, the TMK-1 was launched manned. In the second variant, the TMK-1 would be launched unmanned, then the crew would be launched in a Sever or Soyuz spacecraft, dock with the TMK-1, and transfer to the Mars craft. A liquid oxygen / kerosene trans-Mars injection stage would boost it on its long trip towards Mars. After burnout of the rocket stage, the total initial mass of 75 metric tons was reduced to 30 metric tons.

After 10.5 months it would fly by Mars, dropping remote controlled landers, and then be flung by the gravity of Mars into an earth-return trajectory. Only minor midcourse maneuvers would be required. A variation of this scenario developed by Maksimov's group involved flybys of Venus on the return voyage, and was given the code name "Mavr" ('Moor' or MArs - VeneRa).

During boost the crew re-entry capsule was mounted ahead of the pilot section. After beginning the coast to Mars, the crew section telescoped out from the protective shroud, the capsule was moved to the other end of the TMK by external mechanisms, the antennae and solar collectors unfurled, and the entire spacecraft began rotating around its centre of mass to provide artificial gravity. The crew section had a mass of 15 metric tons, a diameter of 6 m, and a length of 12 m.

From fore to aft, in cruise configuration the TMK-1 consisted of:

  • Habitation or pilot compartment, with an internal volume of 25 cubic meters.
  • Work or equipment section, including the hatch for extra-vehicular activities and a solar storm shelter when solar flares brought the interplanetary radiation levels to dangers levels. Total volume of the section 25 cubic meters.
  • Biological systems compartment, with the SOZh closed-cycle environmental control system, with a total volume of 75 cubic meters.
  • Aggregate section, with the Mars probe capsules, the KDU midcourse correction engine, the SOZh solar concentrator and solar panels, and radio antennae
  • The SA crew earth re-entry capsule, about 4 m in diameter, with the 'reverse Soyuz' configuration of the US Discoverer/Corona re-entry capsules.

A critical item for the TMK-1 project was development of the SOZh closed-cycle environmental control system. The system used biological processes, assisted by some physical-chemical processes, to mimic the ecosystem of the earth. Blue-green algae were used to transform the crew's exhaled carbon dioxide back into oxygen and to provide near-complete recovery of water and body wastes. Water exhaled by the crew was recovered and run over ion exchange resins before being returned to the chlorophyll tanks. 20% to 50% of the crew's food would be grown in hydroponic greenhouses. How to accomplish all of this in the close confines of the TMK-1 was a major challenge. It would require the use of a large labyrinthine solar concentrator to provide intense sunshine in a limited area.

The Institute of Medical-Biological Problems (IMBP) and the Zvezda design bureau (designer of the ejection seat, space suits, and environmental control system for the Vostok spacecraft) became partners with OKB-1 in developing the SOZh. An earth-based simulator - the Earth Experimental Complex (NEK, or SU-100) was built. V Ulibishev, G Manovtsev, and A Bozhko spent an entire year in this closed-environment test unit beginning on 5 March 1967. An analogous US experiment was conducted for only 90 days in July-September 1970.

A special problem of interplanetary flight was protection of the crew from radiation from the solar wind and cosmic rays. Readings from unmanned satellites indicated that the normal cumulative radiation dose over a Mars mission would be within acceptable levels. But the crew would need special protection during periods of maximum solar activity. At such times they would take refuge in a radiation shelter. The shelter consisted of a shielded tunnel, equipped with a simplified spacecraft control station, located in the equipment module.

Another biological problem of which nothing was known during the design of the TMK was the effect of prolonged weightlessness on the crew. Rotation of the TMK about its axis was studied as a means of producing artificial gravity, but the small diameter meant that coriolis forces would produce nausea and probably be worse for the crew than the weightlessness. It was decided that the TMK would be revolved only periodically during the flight to keep the crew adjusted to Earth gravity forces.

To allow operation of the complex spacecraft with a limited crew, automatic devices monitored the operation of its systems. The status of each system was flagged on the main control panel as either 'Normal', 'Deviation from Normal' or 'Malfunction'. Cosmonauts could access and repair the craft's electronic and electric systems which were mounted on a light cantilever structure.

The TMK-1 draft project was completed on 12 October 1961 and had involved nearly all sections of Korolev's OKB-1. Those who worked on the TMK included A I Dylnev, A K Algypov, A A Kochkin, A A Dashkov, V N Kubasov, V E Bugrov, and N N Protacov. Kubasov would be selected as a cosmonaut in 1966.

Characteristics

Crew Size: 3.

Gross mass: 75,000 kg (165,000 lb).
Height: 12.00 m (39.00 ft).
Span: 12.00 m (39.00 ft).
Specific impulse: 350 s.

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Mars Expeditions Since Wernher von Braun first sketched out his Marsprojekt in 1946, a succession of designs and mission profiles were seriously studied in the United States and the Soviet Union. By the late 1960's Von Braun had come to favour nuclear thermal rocket powered expeditions, while his Soviet counterpart Korolev decided that nuclear electric propulsion was the way to go. All such work stopped in both countries in the 1970's, after the cancellation of the Apollo program in the United States and the N1 booster in the Soviet Union. More...
  • Russian Mars Expeditions Aelita was the Queen of Mars in the famous socialist parable filmed by Jakov Protazanov in 1924. It was altogether fitting that her name would be given to the leading Soviet plan for the conquest of the Red Planet. The Soviet Union's Korolev had the same original dream as Wernher von Braun - a manned expedition to Mars. In both cases this goal was interrupted by the 'side show' of the moon race of the 1960's. In both cases that race proved so costly and of so little public interest that political support for any Mars expeditions evaporated. 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...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

Bibliography
  • Semenov, Yu. P., S P Korolev Space Corporation Energia, RKK Energia, 1994.
  • Placard, TsNIIMASH Museum,
  • Krasnikov, Aleksandr, "Pilotiruemiy polyot na Mars - chetvert veka nazad", Russian Space History Web Site, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • Kamanin, N P, Skritiy kosmos, Infortext, Moscow, 1995.

TMK-1 Chronology


1959 During the Year - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • TMK Heavy Piloted Interplanetary Spacecraft - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: TMK-1. 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. The requirements for executing this project would shape the specifications for the N1 launch vehicle.

    The TMK-1 would then be put on a free flight trajectory towards Mars. After 10.5 months it would fly by Mars, dropping remote controlled landers, and then be flung by the gravity of Mars into an earth-return trajectory. Only minor midcourse manoeuvres would be required. The first flight to Mars of the TMK-1 was planned to begin on June 8, 1971, with the crew returning in a re-entry capsule to the earth on July 10, 1974, after a voyage of three years, one month, and two days. A variation of this scenario involved flybys of Venus on the return voyage, and may have been the project given the code name 'Mavr' ('Moor' or MArs - VeneRa).


1961 October 12 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • TMK-1 draft project was completed. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Korolev. Spacecraft: TMK-1. Design of the manned Mars flyby spacecraft had involved nearly all sections of Korolev's OKB-1. Those who worked on the TMK included A I Dylnev, A K Algypov, A A Kochkin, A A Dashkov, V N Kubasov, V E Bugrov, and N N Protacov. Kubasov would be selected as a cosmonaut in 1966.

1963 April 28 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1 1964.
  • N1 Plans - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: TMK-1; L3-1963; OS-1 (1965). An Inter-Institution Soviet considers Korolev's N1 plans. He believes the first booster will be launched in 1965. The N1 is to have a payload capability of 75 tonnes to a 250 km altitude orbit, 50 tonnes to a 3000 km altitude orbit, and 16 tonnes in geostationary orbit. It could launch spacecraft capable of landing men on the moon and returning them to earth, or manned flybys of Mars or Venus. Three to ten launches would be needed for such missions, with the components being docked together in low earth orbit. The N1 can also be used to launch a large space station for military research. After the N1 discussion a decision is made that cosmonauts will not have to spend more than three to four days in a spacecraft mock-up on the ground to prove their readiness for flight. A simulation of the entire flight duration is not necessary.

1963 July 22 - .
  • Conference on space cabin ecology. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Keldysh; Korolev; Voronin. Spacecraft: TMK-1. Keldysh, Korolev, Voronin, and Kamanin attend a conference on space cabin ecology. Presentations are made by IAKM, OKB-124, the Biology Institute, and the Physiology Institute. In two to three years the USSR expects to orbit spacecraft of 78 to 80 tonnes, which will be assembled in earth orbit to produce larger spacecraft. These will not only fly around the moon, but also be used to fly to Venus, Mars, and other planets. Although it will take years, many technical problems have to be solved before such a spacecraft can be built. How to shield the crew from radiation? How best to regenerate the air? How to recycle the water? Can the crew survive for long flights in zero-G, or must some form of artificial gravity be provided? If so, what is the best method? How can the psychological health of the crew best be maintained on long flights?

    It is reported that a lot of test stand work has been completed and is underway on closed ecological systems for recycling the air and water. One kilogram of chlorella algae can produce 27 kg of oxygen per day. Since each man will require 25 kg of oxygen per day, 2 kg of chlorella per crew member will be adequate. Therefore the problem of recycling the cabin atmosphere is considered already solved.

    Food requirements per crew member are 2.5 to 3.0 kg/day, or about one tonne per year. It is expected that in two to three years development will be complete of a system that will recycle 80% of the food. A 150 kg device will produce 400 to 600 g of food per day, or 100 to 200 kg per year.


1964 July 27 - .
  • Space simulator plans - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: TMK-1; TMK-E; LK-1; Soyuz A; Soyuz 7K-LOK; LK. A two-day conference is held at IAKM to review requirements for trainers and task simulators over the next 6 to 7 years. The plan includes basic instructional versions of planned spacecraft, trainers for flying around the moon, and a mock-up of the TMK Heavy Interplanetary Spacecraft. These will require a new facility of to 7,000 square metres. Trainers and strands at TsPK will be housed in building D, a hangar-type facility. The TBK-60 thermal/barometric chamber will be housed in a single hangar. To fully specify TsPK trainers and stands for the lunar mission, trainers for space navigation, and military combat spacecraft will not be completed until 1965.

1965 June 26 - .
  • Poor progress on space trainers - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Dementiev; Titov; Smirnov. Program: Voskhod; Lunar L1. Flight: Soyuz 1; Soyuz 2A; Voskhod 3; Voskhod 4; Voskhod 5; Voskhod 6. Spacecraft: Soyuz A; Spiral OS; TMK-E; TMK-1; LK-1. Titov and Kamanin visit LII to review the status of simulator construction. The engineers haven't had any time to even consider trainers for winged spacecraft. The Soyuz trainer will only be completed by July 1966, and the trainer for the new Voskhod configuration is still on paper only. Simulators for manned lunar or planetary flights have not even been discussed yet. It is clear that Kamanin is going to have to go up the chain of command to Dementiev and Smirnov to get resources allocated for the work to be accelerated.

1967 March 5 - . LV Family: N1. Launch Vehicle: N1.
  • Three Soviet subjects begin full year in closed-loop NEK Mars spacecraft simulator. - . Nation: USSR. Spacecraft: TMK-1. The Institute of Medical-Biological Problems (IMBP) and the Zvezda design bureau (designer of the ejection seat, space suits, and environmental control system for the Vostok spacecraft) became partners with OKB-1 in developing the SOZh closed-loop environemental control system. An earth-based simulator - the Earth Experimental Complex (NEK) was built. V Ulibishev, G Manovtsev, and A Bozhko spent an entire year in this closed-environment test unit beginning on 5 March 1967. An analogous US experiment was conducted for only 90 days in July-September 1970.

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