Encyclopedia Astronautica
1965.02.10 - L3 single-launch spacecraft draft project approved.


Interdepartmental Scientific-Technical Council on Space Research (MNTS-KI) Decree 'On approval of the L3 draft project' was issued. The decree followed a review by a Keldysh-led Academy of Sciences state commission the previous December. The decree moved the first flight of the N1 to the end of 1966.

The L3 development plan was not approved by the VPK Military Industrial Commission.until February, and by then the schedule dates were even less realistic than they appeared in October 1964. Meanwhile all during 1965 Pilyugin refused to accelerate work on development of the guidance work. He complained of the 'hysterical' pressure from OKB-1, and their over-concentration on reliability as the dominant design criteria. The N1 guidance system consisted of three gyro stabilised platforms, 9 accelerometer in 3 groups perpendicular to the normal axes, 18 normal and yaw stabilisers, three digital computers, and analogue-digital, digital-analogue converters. Everything was dual or triple redundant. Due to the high temperature and vibration environment, every engine controller and its cabling was duplicating. This increased cabling problems to the nth degree. The number of control units increased to 200, and the mass of the cables went from 2 to 3 tonnes. These complex systems were tested only once on the iron bird, once in type trials, once on the functional mock-up of the rocket, and then finally on the first launch. The N1 alone had 2000 black boxes, all developed in a rush without proper development documentation. The situation with the spacecraft was even worse. Pilyugin insisted on developing a guidance system using the latest digital computer technology. He concentrated on this from 1965 to 1967. He ignored the instructions of the state decree and used a gyro platform developed in his own bureau, instead of one from Viktor Kuznetsov at NII-944. Kuznetsov platforms were already proven and used on all military missiles and the Soyuz spacecraft.

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