Encyclopedia Astronautica
1971.06.01 - N1-6L launch commission


The review of launch preparations veers off into a discussion of what the booster was now for. Pilyugin questioned the seriousness of intent of the TsKBEM staff. The digital control system priorities within the bureau were with DOS and Almaz -- why wasn't the N1-L3 the priority? Mishin had never been told that the N1-L3 development was lagging. It had no priority with the leadership. Top priority at TsKBEM was Nadiradze's solid propellant ICBM's, followed by the DOS Salyut station, and now Soyuz-Apollo preparations. Meanwhile it was finally recognised that a single-launch scenario was simply impossible, and two N1 launches would be needed to accomplish the lunar landing. But there was no political will to tell the Politburo the bad news -- that two N1's would be needed to be launched to accomplish the landing. The final conclusion was that the bureau needed a new direction, a project with national priority, like the DOS station. Strategic rocket work could be ruled out, as there were already too many players in that field.

So the enormous N1-launched UMOK (Universal Multi-Module Orbital Station) was conceived. Universal subsystem elements common to all modules were identified: a control/navigation system, solar/star sensors for orientation, gyroscopic systems for stabilisation and orientation, environmental control systems, temperature regulation systems, electrical distribution equipment, automatic rendezvous systems, displays, radios, communications, television, digital computers and their digital to analogue interfaces, and finally a common KTDU propulsion system. Isayev was consulted on the issue - how to move to a universal KTDU design that could be used with payloads of a wide range of payload masses. But Isayev suddenly suffered a fatal heart attack. His funeral had to be scheduled between the N1-6L launch on 27 June and the Soyuz 11 launch on 30 June, 1971.

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