41Paddy

What do you think went wrong with the N-1 Program?

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1 minute ago, StupidAndy said:

built too fast to stop the filthy capitalist

Built too fast to fulfil Korolev's dream of life - fly to Mars first.

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13 minutes ago, kerbiloid said:

His obsession with hypergolics was the only thing which saved the situation with ICBM and SLBM, replacing cryomonsters like R-7.(requiring 700 crew, 12 hours and an oxygen factory to launch one warhead) with ready-to-use UR-100 and R-36 in high-protected SILOs.

Sure, unfortunately, neither of those ICBM's could do a thing for manned lunar program. (There were some projects later using Proton as booster for lunar complex, but it would have to launch without crew.) Americans moved their ICBM's to hypergolics too, but that did not stopped them from improving cryogenics, leading directly to F-1. Problem is that Glushko not only claimed that hypergolics are better for ICBM's (which is definitely correct and AFAIK Korolev never contested that)  but he also said and written (there is a citation in Chertok) that cryogenics could not be developed and will never amount to anything. And as director of OKB-456 actively blocked any work in that direction. His later work on RD-170 is complete reversal.

1 hour ago, kerbiloid said:

Also, about 3/4 of total orbital mass from Russia was launched with Protons (whose production Korolev tried to stop)

And rightly so. Proton never launched single cosmonaut and hypergolics are nowadays considered unsuitable for man-rated boosters. And Proton is to be replaced by Angara, using cryogenic propelants again. Korolev was definitely right.
 

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Politics, is the short answer. Discussion of which is prohibited on these forums. So this thread may as well be locked.

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Not a politics itself, but Glushko just was having another priorities. When the primary aim (ICBM) had been achieved, he turned to cryogenics.

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20 hours ago, radonek said:

Americans moved their ICBM's to hypergolics too

Yes, the Titan II was hypergolic, but the Minuteman was contemporary with that. It's probably a lot more accurate to say that the US focus mostly shifted to solid fuel.

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The  KORDS engine control system, that controlled all 30 engines during ascent, couldn't withstand the stresses of launch. This was important, as, instead of using gimbal to turn, the rocket strategically shut off some engines and restarted others for pitch and yaw control! There were 6 gimballed engines in the centre though, but they were just for roll. 

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Posted (edited)

44 minutes ago, NISSKEPCSIM said:

The  KORDS engine control system, that controlled all 30 engines during ascent, couldn't withstand the stresses of launch. This was important, as, instead of using gimbal to turn, the rocket strategically shut off some engines and restarted others for pitch and yaw control! There were 6 gimballed engines in the centre though, but they were just for roll. 

Wow, this was quite a necro.

Anyway, the NK-15 couldn't be restarted in-air; it couldn't actually be reused at all, IIRC. They didn't even test-fire the flight engines because the valves were pyrotechnic rather than hydraulic. The KORDS system used differential throttling to control pitch and yaw. It shut down engines only if the opposite engine failed.

Edited by sevenperforce
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On 11/23/2016 at 11:13 AM, 41Paddy said:

What is your idea of the N-1 Russian Moon Program failure? How do you think it fell apart?

My opinion:
1. The person who led the program had died, and nobody could figure out where to go from there.

2. Lack of knowledge of improving rockets. They were first to space, but their engine development failed miserably after a few milestones.

3. Lack of funding. They ran out of money to develop the program.

4. Design flaws and construction failures. Putting 30 engines on 1 stage? Wires broken everywhere? Fuel tanks not big enough to support it to orbit? Something's going to go wrong...

Share your ideas below!

Delete all after "How do you think it fell apart"

And answer with: They were Soviets.

Goddamn commies.

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1 hour ago, Yobobhi said:

Delete all after "How do you think it fell apart"

And answer with: They were Soviets.

Goddamn commies.

Well this is going to end well...

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1 hour ago, Yobobhi said:

Delete all after "How do you think it fell apart"

And answer with: They were Soviets.

Goddamn commies.

Communists can`t be damned by god, nor soviets. (Doesn`t exist :wink:)

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52 minutes ago, Mikki said:

Communists can`t be damned by god, nor soviets. (Doesn`t exist :wink:)

I use goddamn as a phrase of exclamation, rather than a religious term.

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3 hours ago, Yobobhi said:

Delete all after "How do you think it fell apart"

And answer with: They were Soviets.

Those same Soviets who designed and built the most reliable crewed rocket ever? Those Soviets? Come up with a better argument, please.

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Just now, Red Iron Crown said:

Those same Soviets who designed and built the most reliable crewed rocket ever? Those Soviets? Come up with a better argument, please.

The Soyuz? It's inferior to the Saturn 1B with Apollo CSM, Darn it! 

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1 hour ago, Red Iron Crown said:

Those same Soviets who designed and built the most reliable crewed rocket ever?

The one whose reliability is almost statistically almost indistinguishable from the Space Shuttle?  The same one that aborted multiple flights because it couldn't dock?  The same one whose guidance computer has a persistent habit of failing during re-entry resulting in the vehicle making a high-G ballistic re-entry?

Seriously, the reliability of both Soyuz (the booster) and Soyuz (the capsule) is vastly overrated and it's reputation doesn't survive shifting from handwaving claims like "most reliable ever" to examining the actual numbers. 

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1 hour ago, Yobobhi said:

The Soyuz? It's inferior to the Saturn 1B with Apollo CSM, Darn it! 

And which one is still flying today? I suppose they should have kept building 1B's, with a smaller SM. But NASA wanted to go in a different direction. Hindsight is 20/20? Or was the Saturn 1B with Apollo CSM to expensive to be sustainable?

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Posted (edited)

53 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

The same one that aborted multiple flights because it couldn't dock?

How many times did Shuttle dock, rather than flying free? Total launch count is comparable.
How many times did Shuttle dock automatically?

53 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

 The same one whose guidance computer has a persistent habit of failing during re-entry resulting in the vehicle making a high-G ballistic re-entry?

At last, a capsule allows this rather than a plane.

And how many times was Shuttle landing with damaged heatshield or even firing? Once even with a molten tail.

Edited by kerbiloid
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Posted (edited)

Why the LEO-rendezvous scheme was rejected?

They could make the rocket, say, two times lighter with 15 engines instead of 30 and a simpler plumbing system.

Yes, the mass of Block Г was 62 t, but there was a possibility to make it smaller while making Block Д larger and firing it twice, wasn’t it?

Edited by Teilnehmer

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Posted (edited)

1. And redesign the rocket from scratch.
2. And when 1-2 NK-15 get off (by design) - lose 1/7 of thrust at once.
3. Presumably, Korolev was making N-1 thinking mostly about Mars launch, so a lesser one was unappropriate for him (though was ideal for Chelomei's Proton two launches).

Edited by kerbiloid

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3 hours ago, DerekL1963 said:

The one whose reliability is almost statistically almost indistinguishable from the Space Shuttle? 

You know, I never counted them before. You are right in terms of fatality missions 2/132 vs 2/135. I honestly thought Soyuz had flown more. Wow. On top of that, there were 2 aborts (safe crew!), so the vehicle failure rate is really 2X as high. That said, they have a quite long run of safe flights with the current version.

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Posted (edited)

Mortality is also comparable: ~1:70..80

(What really puzzles: nobody died in early ships: Vostok/Voskhod, Mercury, Gemini)

Edited by kerbiloid

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Posted (edited)

statistics only work in larger numbers, then again, we are talking probability, which works fine with gemini numbers

Edited by MacLuky

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5 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Mortality is also comparable: ~1:70..80

(What really puzzles: nobody died in early ships: Vostok/Voskhod, Mercury, Gemini)

Good engineering, good people and more than once, a measure of good luck. Gemini 8 nearly ended badly for example, and likewise the Vostok 1 re-entry.

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7 hours ago, Teilnehmer said:

Why the LEO-rendezvous scheme was rejected?

They could make the rocket, say, two times lighter with 15 engines instead of 30 and a simpler plumbing system.

Yes, the mass of Block Г was 62 t, but there was a possibility to make it smaller while making Block Д larger and firing it twice, wasn’t it?

Even with all their resources, the Soviets didn't have nearly enough capacity to do multiple back-to-back launches. Neither did we, for that matter.

Nowadays, EOR would be much simpler. Or, my favorite: double lunar orbit rendezvous. Launch the lunar lander into lunar orbit unmanned with one HLV launch, then send the crew and return capsule into lunar orbit with a second HLV launch. They can dock once, go through the same Apollo-style mission, then come home in the original capsule just like Apollo did. 

Somewhat amusingly, the repeated failures of the N-1 program were almost entirely the fault of bad programming. The computer control system for the engines on the first stage had poor sensors but poorer programming, so it kept shutting down before it needed to. If they had devoted more time to failure tree modeling before launching, they would have caught the errors, and N-1 might have reached orbit.

The Soviets have a poor track record in that regard. My favorite programming failure (is it nerdy to have a favorite programming failure?) was Soyuz 7K-OK No.1, where they aborted launch before liftoff but were taken by surprise half an hour later, when the LES spontaneously triggered, sending the capsule flying and setting the rocket stack on fire. Turns out the programmers had forgotten to account for the rotation of the Earth; in half an hour, the Earth rotated about eight degrees, triggering the gyros that are supposed to activate LES if the rocket tilts too far on liftoff.

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Lack of ability to test the first stage on the ground.

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5 hours ago, sevenperforce said:

Somewhat amusingly, the repeated failures of the N-1 program were almost entirely the fault of bad programming. The computer control system for the engines on the first stage had poor sensors but poorer programming, so it kept shutting down before it needed to. If they had devoted more time to failure tree modeling before launching, they would have caught the errors, and N-1 might have reached orbit.

Nonsense, there was no computer in N-1. Whole KORD was electronic control - sequencers, integrators, relays… that kind of thing. No software, no programming. And it worked pretty well, see my first post above.

5 hours ago, sevenperforce said:

The Soviets have a poor track record in that regard. My favorite programming failure (is it nerdy to have a favorite programming failure?) was Soyuz 7K-OK No.1, where they aborted launch before liftoff but were taken by surprise half an hour later, when the LES spontaneously triggered, sending the capsule flying and setting the rocket stack on fire. Turns out the programmers had forgotten to account for the rotation of the Earth; in half an hour, the Earth rotated about eight degrees, triggering the gyros that are supposed to activate LES if the rocket tilts too far on liftoff.

Again, this is nothing to do with programming, it was just gyroplatform that they forgot to disconnect from LES. It was a silly mistake, yes, but nothing to do with computers. In fact, Chertok in his memoirs mentions envy they felt toward americans having small enough computers to be fitted inside a spacecraft. AFAIK first usable digital computer in soviet space was in Buran. The fact that soviets managed to perform fully automatic rendezvous and docking without digital computer and with not very good electronics is actually pretty impressive.

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