|MPK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1956. This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was made by M Tikhonravov.|
|TMK-E Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1960. Feoktistov felt that the TMK-1 manned Mars flyby design was too limited. His design group proposed in 1960 a complete Mars landing expedition, to be assembled in earth orbit using two or more N1 launches.|
|TMK-1 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.|
|Mavr Russian manned Mars flyby. Study 1963. A variation of the TMK-1 scenario by Maksimov's unit would still use a single N1 launch. However a flyby of Venus would be undertaken on the return voyage from Mars.|
|KK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1966. Work on the TMK project continued, including trajectory trade-off studies and refinement of the design.|
|MEK Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1969. The Mars Expeditionary Complex (MEK) was designed to take a crew of from three to six to Mars and back with a total mission duration of 630 days.|
|Mars 1986 Russian manned Mars expedition. Studied 1978-1986. NPO Energia resumed study of a Mars project once development began of the new Energia booster in place of the cancelled N1.|
|Mars 1989 Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 1989. In 1989 yet another Mars project was proposed by NPO Energia.|
|Marpost Russian manned Mars expedition. Study 2000. In December 2000 Leonid Gorshkov of RKK Energia proposed a manned Mars orbital expedition as an alternative to Russian participation in the International Space Station.|
This first serious examination in the Soviet Union of manned flight to Mars was initiated by M Tikhonravov's section of Korolev's OKB-1. The Martian Piloted Complex (MPK), would be assembled in low earth orbit. Using conventional liquid propellants, it would fly a Hohmann trajectory, enter Martian orbit, and a landing craft would descend to the surface. After just over a year of surface exploration, the crew would return to earth. It was calculated that the initial mass of the MPK would be 1,630 tonnes, and a re-entry vehicle of only 15 tonnes could be returned to earth at the end of the 30 month mission. At the planned N1 payload mass of 75 to 85 tonnes, it would take 20 to 25 N1 launches to assemble the MPK.
At the urging of S P Korolev, OKB-1 Section 12, led by M V Melnikov, started development of an ion engine. By 1959 it would be proposed that clusters of the 7.5 kgf thrust ion engine could take the TMK-E manned Mars spacecraft on a low acceleration spiralling trajectory away from the Earth until it finally reached escape velocity and headed toward Mars. But to power even such a limited engine solar panels with a total area of 36,000 square meters would be required - clearly beyond 1959 technology. Feoktistov's solution was to turn to the use of a nuclear reactor to power the ion engine.
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).
Decree 715-296 'On the Production of Various Launch Vehicles, Satellites, Spacecraft for the Military Space Forces in 1960-1967' authorised design of a range of spacecraft and launch vehicles by Korolev, Yangel, and Chelomei. The decree included the N1 (development of launch vehicles of up to 2,000 tonnes liftoff mass and 80 tonne payload, using conventional chemical propellants) and nuclear reactors for space power and propulsion.
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.
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.
Work on the TMK project continued, including trajectory trade-off studies and refinement of the design. In its final iteration, before Korolev's OKB was overwhelmed by N1-L3 development work, the design was known as the KK - Space Complex for Delivering a Piloted Expedition to Mars.
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.
SO Okhapkin: I do not agree with the first part of the speech of VP Mishin. We accepted obligations and have not fulfilled them. We deceived the Central Committee and the government with the second part of the performance agreement. These will have terrible consequences (no communication satellites or MKBS, etc.)
KP Feoktistov: Orientation toward Mars - is correct. We will achieve Mars - and the moon, and the TOS heavy space station. The OKB should complete the ordered spacecraft, all the systems, and ordered launch vehicles... the TMK - for Mars, the Moon and the MKBS (cover for weapons systems development)
Chertok: It is good that the program proposed by the Soviet of Chief Designers was approved unanimously. Big manned spacecraft to Mars (and from that to derive standard modules with automatic options for Earth manned flights.) MKBS - for defense purposes.
VK Bezverby: Use EYaRD nuclear electric propulsion for deep space missions and MKBS (for defense purposes). (Mishin Diaries 2-162)
Central Committee of the Communist Party and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 'On work on nuclear rocket engines' was issued. Prior work, mainly on propulsion for manned Mars expeditions, was now concentrated on development of the NEP rocket stage 11B97. This stage would have an electric capacity of 500-600 kW and would use specialised plasma-ion electric engines using standing plasma waves and anodes.
Decree 'On course of work on nuclear rocket engines' was issued. The 11B97 stage would have an electric capacity of 500-600 kW and would use specialised plasma-ion electric engines using standing plasma waves and anodes. It was powered from a reactor with a 200 litre core containing 30 kg of uranium fuel. In 1978 this engine was studied for use as a reusable interorbital space tug for launch by Energia-Buran.
NPO Energia developed for the Ministry of Defence the interorbital tug Gerkules with 550 kW maximum output and continuous operation in the 50-150 kW range for 3 to 5 years. In 1986 an interorbital tug was studied to solve the specific application of transporting heavy satellites of 100 tonnes to geostationary orbit, launched by Energia.
Having completed design and development work on Energia-launched nuclear-electric upper stages, NPO Energia studied a manned Mars project again. The study revamped the 1969 studies to include launch by Energia and use of two reactors in the place of one and the use of tested systems developed on orbital stations.