Encyclopedia Astronautica
1964.07.21 - Korolev's single-launch lunar scheme reviewed by the Chief Designers


How to achieve the additional N1 payload was a key point of discussion.

Isayev was working on an 8 tonne thrust Lox/LH2 engine, and Lyulka on a 40 tonne thrust engine using the same propellants. 6 to 8 of these could be clustered in a new third stage for the N1, thereby achieving the payload. Glushko again raised the issue of why Korolev was using low-reliability 150 tonne thrust Kuznetsov engines in the N1 rather than Glushko's already-developed RD-253. Keldysh dismissed this comment as having already been decided long ago. Kuznetsov retaliated to Glushko's comments by pointing out that he had asked for Glushko's assistance in improving the reliability of the engines, and had asked for the use of one of Glushko's test stands, but Glushko had refused to co-operate. Glushko remained silent and did not respond to this charge.

Pilyugin pointed out that an entirely new guidance system would be required for the N1-L3 mission. It could not possibly be designed within the schedule given. Barmin pointed out that ground units at Tyuratam had no experience in dealing with Lox/LH2 propellants. It would be impossible for his engineers to master the technology, develop the new equipment, and have it installed at the launch site at the schedule given.

The inevitable conclusion was that the N1 would have to be upgraded using the existing Lox/Kerosene propellants; the one-shot scenario was the only one achievable within the budget and schedule set; and that everyone would have to develop details supporting that schedule.

The designers set to work negotiating the wording of the final decree. Glushko alone refused to participate, even sending a formal protocol to the leadership declaring he did not believe in the reliability of Kuznetsov's engines. Keldysh took the draft decree to Smirnov, who in turn met with Khrushchev, how would not be hurried in the decision. There was no radical technical solution to the problem of beating the Americans to the moon. Only a brute force approach would work: to build an enormous factory, launch complex, and city in the remote desert of Kazakhstan; and to develop the LK lunar lander using a concentrated and unprecedented engineering effort. Khrushchev posed the question to Ustinov: the decision is simple, do we fly to the moon or not? We simply will not give the moon up to the Americans! What resources are needed? They simply must be provided. Locate them and simply do it!

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