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

116 posts in this topic

Just now, StrandedonEarth said:

With 70's tech, no less.

And 60's spirit !

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2 hours ago, tater said:

Cost is everything unless you consider the fact that the program is really a jobs program.

Not really, no.  Cost is only everything in the insanely disconnected from reality world that most space fans seem to inhabit.  In the real world capability matters as much if not more than cost.  Space fans blithely, routinely, and repeatedly root for a subcompact because it's cheaper than a full size pickup* - but out in the real world nobody sober and sane would confuse the two, let alone suggest that the former could do the latter's job.

*And completely fail to consider the cost of replacing the capabilities...  And there's a lot of capabilities to the Shuttle they never think of, like the ability to rendezvous, to support spacewalks, to provide power, attitude control, and other services that aren't going to be cheap to develop a replacement for.  All of which will be thrown away at the end of the mission if the payload is launched on an expendable...  And which also means you can't perform a straight $/kg comparison between Shuttle and (say) Proton because you have to account for those costs.

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Posted (edited)

53 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

Not really, no.  Cost is only everything in the insanely disconnected from reality world that most space fans seem to inhabit.  In the real world capability matters as much if not more than cost.  Space fans blithely, routinely, and repeatedly root for a subcompact because it's cheaper than a full size pickup* - but out in the real world nobody sober and sane would confuse the two, let alone suggest that the former could do the latter's job.

*And completely fail to consider the cost of replacing the capabilities...  And there's a lot of capabilities to the Shuttle they never think of, like the ability to rendezvous, to support spacewalks, to provide power, attitude control, and other services that aren't going to be cheap to develop a replacement for.  All of which will be thrown away at the end of the mission if the payload is launched on an expendable...  And which also means you can't perform a straight $/kg comparison between Shuttle and (say) Proton because you have to account for those costs.

NASA has finite resources.

So you are saying that if 2 or 3 craft exist that together can deliver a specific capability at a lower cost than a Shuttle launch, Shuttle is still superior? Really? 

I am explicitly talking about capabilities, and cost for a given capability matters. You seem to forget that if you need a Shuttle capability on 10% of the launches, you are paying for that capability on every launch, used or not. Every launch you are paying for 90+ tons of orbiter to orbit, which is just a crew box. If the job is delivering modules to ISS, that could be an HLV lofting more than one module volume worth in a single launch. ISS habitable volume is under 3 skylab volumes, for example. 3 launches vs dozens.

No one is comparing a subcompact with a FS PU. We're comparing a taxi cab with a pickup with a dump truck. If you are hauling people, take a taxi. if you are hauling something tiny that needs a guy to unload it and do something, take a PU. If you need a huge load of stuff just dumped someplace, use a dump truck. If you need a huge load put someplace, then a few guys need to shovel some of it, I would ask is it better to make 30 trips with the PU, or 1 dump truck followed by a taxi? If the latter is cheaper, then the latter wins, if the former is cheaper, then by all means, use the PU. I think in the modern world, most stuff could be delivered in an automated fashion, and if the first payload is a crew compartment, then you send the crew there, and now you don't need the crew/cargo vehicle.

To be clear, you compare all costs to properly determine what gets the desired job done most cost effectively. Loads, crew, safety, etc. My gut says multiple specialist craft would be better than something like shuttle.

Edited by tater
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15 minutes ago, DerekL1963 said:

Not really, no.  Cost is only everything in the insanely disconnected from reality world that most space fans seem to inhabit.  In the real world capability matters as much if not more than cost.  Space fans blithely, routinely, and repeatedly root for a subcompact because it's cheaper than a full size pickup* - but out in the real world nobody sober and sane would confuse the two, let alone suggest that the former could do the latter's job.

*And completely fail to consider the cost of replacing the capabilities...  And there's a lot of capabilities to the Shuttle they never think of, like the ability to rendezvous, to support spacewalks, to provide power, attitude control, and other services that aren't going to be cheap to develop a replacement for.  All of which will be thrown away at the end of the mission if the payload is launched on an expendable...

In a world where private section are the holders of power, these kind of things are meaningless. (if you haven't noticed, things tend to have shorter lifetime nowadays...)

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36 minutes ago, tater said:

So you are saying that if 2 or 3 craft exist that together can deliver a specific capability at a lower cost than a Shuttle launch, Shuttle is still superior? Really? 


I said nothing of the sort, so don't put words in my mouth.  All I did was point out that direct comparisons on the basis of cost (to quote you: "cost is everything"), is a deeply flawed approach.

Not to mention, there's not many cases where a combination of 2-3 vehicles can accomplish a Shuttle mission.  In part due to Soyuz's low passenger capacity (1, unless the Soyuz crew also undergoes cross training, which the Shuttle's crew didn't) and due to the weight penalties imposed by the need to supply those extra services for the payload that Shuttle does and expendables don't.

Again, I'm not defending the Shuttle (it only sounds like it because I'm not hating on it or repeating the redonkulous notions that many space fans have), merely pointing out reality.
 

39 minutes ago, tater said:

ISS habitable volume is under 3 skylab volumes, for example. 3 launches vs dozens.


Which is about the most irrelevant comparison ever - not only because raw volume is completely useless, but you've failed to account for the number of launches needed to launch all the stuff to fill that volume and make it useful.  (Empty volume isn't of much use - whether it's your house or ISS, it's the stuff that makes it useful.)   For reference, ISS weighs about five and half times what Skylab did, and you're not going to get that weight in three launches.  You're right back to dozens of launches (just for the stuff).

(And yes, Soyuz (or crewed Dragon) v. Shuttle is subcompact v. full size pickup truck - the cargo vehicles are light pickups at best.)
 

45 minutes ago, tater said:

I think in the modern world, most stuff could be delivered in an automated fashion, and if the first payload is a crew compartment, then you send the crew there, and now you don't need the crew/cargo vehicle.


I never said otherwise, I only pointed things that's are as true as the Law of Gravity.  If you increase the number of launches, you increase the risk the program is exposed to.  If you take the Shuttle out of the equation, then a lot of things get a lot more complicated.  All of this is real world engineering, and it's not the one dimensional (usually cost) problem that folks keep trying to shoehorn it into.

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Posted (edited)

Everything else being equal, cost is everything, imo (unless it's a jobs program, then increased cost might be good). If the goal is to replace Shuttle (I know these 2 threads are merged), what exactly is the capability to be replicated? Clearly for cargo delivery it's a poor vehicle, as you could put a small tug stage on a module of the same size, and put it to the new station orbit. The crew+cargo aspect has very limited utility, imo, as the first or second launch of station could have an arm. That's sort of the plan with the lunar gateway notion, right? Orion brings a hab, airlock, and arm.

I used volume on Skylab because habitable volume matters in terms of capability, and a HLV could put up an iss-like station in vastly fewer launches than shuttle if allowed the same launch/program costs (full of stuff). Skylab massed about 88 tons. That's 4-6 iss modules, so you could certainly send something roughly similar in fewer launches with SLS, for example, and that's at pretty much identical cost/launch. Send crew with a commercial crew vehicle. For the pickup truck stuff maybe Dream Chaser. Those are sorta current options.

So what capabilities would you replace in a new vehicle or vehicles? Would it have to haul 20 tons and 7 crew?

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)

Just to be clear, I was never saying that supercheapco launcher was best, this was about replacing shuttle, and I was talking about replacing the capability with multiple vehicles that are only used together when the mission demands it. I think that it would be cheaper, as each component would be less expensive, and I think it would be cheaper because you'd only ever use the bits you need. Cheap crew launch for crew, cheap cargo launch for small cargo, and expensive launch for heavy stuff.

Edited by tater

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On 29. 4. 2017 at 2:49 AM, tater said:

So what capabilities would you replace in a new vehicle or vehicles? Would it have to haul 20 tons and 7 crew?

OK, my 2 cents:

  • Delta IV Heavy or Falcon Heavy for bringing stuff up. And play it by space-x script - start with working basic design and work in stage reusability later.
  • Dedicated space tug for moving stuff from low parking orbit and with provision for canadarm. Just a small one - idea here is not pushing things out to other planets, but have ability to handle "dumb" stuff (without avionics and propulsion) like shuttle did. And do it space-x way again - nonreusable prototypes first and think about in-orbit maintenance and refueling later.
  • Crew transport could start with soyuzes and keep them as lifeboats if their service life could be extended. But I would seriously think about shuttle - not the current one, but the original design. Small, straight wing, no payload bay, just a crew cabin and small cargo space.

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Posted (edited)

First, my apologies, I thought this thread got combined with the replacement shuttle thread during the forum fiasco.

I don't know if it was combined, then got fixed, or if I was just being an idiot, but sorry for going off topic, regardless.

 

Edited by tater

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Posted (edited)

N-1 Had a Major Problem which was its Plan, Such a Rocket needed much higher technology of Computers and Comms. Its was a Future Rocket. Korolev instead had plans to use Gyroscope to control all the engines in the stage in situ. But his death was a major impact. There were 30 engines, no problem we could put 50 or even 100, but to control each engines was a problem at the time. We can build an N-1 today and go to a Round Trip of Mars instead, but Life Support in place of LK Lander. Engine Stability was a major Issue, Korolev's death caused his Engine Plate Idea to Fail. Even Saturn V had this Problem of Vibration and Instability, see Apollo 6. N-1 instead of Mechanical (Best) was Computerized (Worst) and wires, pipes failed it. An Advantage to Saturn-V was its Less no. Of Engines just 5, high thrust causing vibration lesser (Heavy Engines Absorb) than 30 small engines with higher Rate of Frequency (30 engines oscillate at a time) causing Fuel Lines Jam, Cut, Leak and Explode. Time and Funds were too Depleted and US won the Moon Race. If we build such today, Better Engines and Powerful Computer may let us put 100 of Tons (equivalent to ISS) at a time to LEO or to Moon.

Edited by PrathamK

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Posted (edited)

The design of the N1 was fundamentally flawed, especially for the time. The huge clusters of engines were simply not viable.

Even with 5 F-1 engines, the Saturn V had tens of thousands of separate parts. The N1 had 6x the number of engines, built on the cheap with a very sketchy labor force.

 A huge number of things were bound to go wrong, on every single stage with clustered engines (the first 3 IIRC).

Especially with the extremely spotty safety record of early Soviet designs, and how late they conducted their "testing" (relative to the Apollo program), the N1 never could've realistically gone anywhere (safely, that is).

Edited by Sanic
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13 hours ago, Sanic said:

The design of the N1 was fundamentally flawed, especially for the time. The huge clusters of engines were simply not viable.

Even with 5 F-1 engines, the Saturn V had tens of thousands of separate parts. The N1 had 6x the number of engines, built on the cheap with a very sketchy labor force.

 A huge number of things were bound to go wrong, on every single stage with clustered engines (the first 3 IIRC).

Especially with the extremely spotty safety record of early Soviet designs, and how late they conducted their "testing" (relative to the Apollo program), the N1 never could've realistically gone anywhere (safely, that is).

They too cancelled their 2 Launch Earth Rendezvous Plan, With Protons, they were easy for USSR with such powerful Rocket. To Orbit and 2 stages might get them to launch, in comparison to 1 launch Lunar Rendezvous with 1 stage.

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Posted (edited)

Lunar Protons were cancelled to make N-1 the only program, to gather all funds in one place.

Edited by kerbiloid

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I'm going to take the thread question back to its simplest form and say "It went kablooey".

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7 hours ago, kerbiloid said:

Lunar Protons were cancelled to make N-1 the only program, to gather all funds in one place.

Odd.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if 30 Proton engines could be reliably started together.  I'd even be trying to decide which would be worse: 60 turbopumps or dealing with pressure-fed hypergolics.  Mostly this would depend on just how much delta-v I could get out of the "0.2 stage" pressure fed stage and simplification to a 10? 20? 5? engine 1.2 stage.

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Posted (edited)

LK lander was very light a proton stage with it and 2nd proton launch with LOK and using the LK Proton they had been to moon cheaply, a bit time consumping but easy and effective than a Saturn-V. They had knowledge and Resources.

However Proton was a new launcher with Launch Complication and report said the fuel was HyperGolic and thus was rejected. ***** Shuttle too use HyperGolic fuel in OMS and ISRO Orbital Vehicle's Launcher GSLV Mk-III too uses HyperGolic, Cryogenic and Solid Fuel. How did they rejected this? How.

Edited by PrathamK

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