Encyclopedia Astronautica
1968.10.24 - N1 - lost opportunity in 1961


Glushko has a private conversation with Isayev at the N1 MIK during the Soyuz 3 launch preparations. Glushko revealed to Isayev that in 1961 he had offered Korolev a compromise - if Korolev would use the same 'packet' scheme for the N1 that he had used on the R-7, so that the individual engine modules could be individually tested on the ground before flight, Glushko would give up his insistence on the use of storable propellants. However, after checking with Mishin, Korolev would not compromise.

Glushko decided then to go ahead on this own and develop a 600 tonne thrust storable propellant engine within six years. If Korolev had agreed in 1961, Glushko would have provided the necessary engine for the N1 to be launched in 1966 - and Russia would have beat the Americans to the moon... However instead of engaging in a quiet discussion with Glushko on the matter, Korolev gave the whole thing to Mishin for analysis.

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