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Saliout 1 and Soyouz 11

Soyouz ASTP and Apollo 18


50 years of Spoutnik

Soyouz 4 and 5

2001 a space odyssey



To go on the moon, the Soviets, under the supervision of Korolev, manufactured four N1 launcher. With a height of 105 meters, it is in the range in size and power of the Saturn V American launcher. It is a very complex launcher. Its take-off is assumed by the A block which includes not less than 30 NK-33 rockets. They are providing a 48 tons per square meter push and it was necessary to build a specific launch base which was capable to handle this pressure during the launch. This base was built in Tioura-Tam when at the same time the Soviets let believe that the base was still located in Baïkonour.

Unfortunately, all the four tentative launches were unsucessful with both the launcher blowing up and the destruction of the launch-pad. During ignition, the launcher being at more than 100 meters height, the flames of the rockets were still licking the ground and were enlightning the Baïkonour area on more than 50 kilometers. Vasiliy Pavlovich Mishin succeeded to Korolev after his death ; however, the project was canceled after a last unsuccessful launch on November 23rd, 1972. Remains of the launcher are used today as shed or precarious housing.

Archives pictures of the N1 geant launcher

The N1 launcher on its rails

The Space vehicle arrives on its launching pad

The N1 on its launching pad

The launching pad with its rotating tower

Two N1 launchers on the double launching pad


Both Makarov and Leonov cosmonauts were the two selected candidates for that mission. After the take-off, when reaching the altitude of 47 km, the A block was released, relayed by the height rocket motors of the block B. It is released itselft after 108 seconds of burning. At this moment, the launcher has reached an altitude of more than 250 km and the four motors of the fifth stage are propelling it to reach a terrestrial elliptical orbit. Then the fifth stage is released and the small lateral motors of the G stage are adjusting the N1 launcher on its orbit.

The N1 is carrying the Soyouz LOK (Orbital Lunar Module) and the LK vessel (the Moon landing Module) equivalent to the American LEM. After one Earth revolution, the launcher ignites the main G block motor to translate the system out of the Earth attraction. This brings it on a very elliptical orbit which goes up to the Moon. Block G motor will ignite from time to time to correct the orbit. The launcher which is now 45 meters height is carrying the L3 name. Reaching the Moon vicinity, L3 releases its lateral panels and the G block freeing both Soyouz LOK and LK module.

Then the E stage brings the Lunar LK module close to the selene surface. The LK module released itself from the E stage and on a free flight land on the Moon few minutes later, Leonov cosmonaut controlling the landing.

While Leonov is collecting Lunar stone samples, LOK Soyouz is sampling the lunar surface with its sophisticated instruments and cameras. Leonov would have to collect stones, take some pictures and fix the Russian flag on the Moon ground. On his way back, after taking-off and mooring on the lunar orbit, Leonov should get out of the LK module and rejoin Makarov in the LOK Soyouz. Then the LK module should have been released and the Soyouz-7k-LOK returned to the Earth with a landing method identical to the today Soyouz.

What new in the new N1-Lunar pack

The launcher is brought to the launching pad

The four diesel engines push the launcher

The N1 booster double launching pad

The CELESTIA N1-Lunar add-on

Le The N1-Lunar pack Now, it is integrating the double launching pas along with the release of the launcher stages. Also, it includes the LK module Moon landing in real-time as it can be seen in the here-under video. The return to the Earth does not show yet the cosmonaut landing which will be made available in a future release. The current add-on version is developped for Celestia in its 1.4.1 version. There is a lot of modifications to process for the 1.5.0 version, however the vessels are visible. A new pack compatible with the 1.5.0 version will be issued as soon as possible.

So, this new pack is usable with Celestia release 1.4.1. Unzip it in the Celestia «extras» directory then open the scripts available in the «scripts» directory.

The video of the add-on

Take-off video

landing on the Moon video

Click on the pictures to launch the videos

Other pictures here:

The N1-L3 Lunar Orbiter on its launching pad on July the 3rd, 1969 at 11 pm

N1-L3 G Block detail

Launching pad detail

Do note that the pack beta2 includes most of the vessels (just the individual stages which I designed are missing). A script is joined allowing to have an idea of the project and display the take-off on a provisory xyz orbit. The complete N1 rocket along with the N1-L3 module moving towards the Moon can be seen. Some pictures of the landed LK module with Alexei Leonov cosmonaut. On the right hand picture the LK inside cabin on which I am working for the next pack.

Click on the picture to have them in 1920x1200 high definition.


Some links on the subject :

A site on Korolev and the N1 launcher

The N1 rocket technical document

Cliquez ICI To download the pack, use The CEL page To look at the vessels in Celestia 1.4.1

Last update on Feb 24th, 20082008