N1 Scale Model Launch
June 13, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

The Soviet Union’s answer to Saturn V, the massive, complex, and top-secret N1 rocket, failed win the moon race after four disastrous launch explosions between 1969 and 1972. In 2004, Polecat Aerospace had much better luck launching their 1/16 N1 scale model.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (17 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This ascent will be betrayed to Gravity. But the Rocket engine, the deep cry of combustion that jars the soul, promises escape. The victim, in bondage to falling, rises on a promise, a prophecy, of Escape....

Yeah, yeah, I know, sort of a different Rocket, but all Rockets are, like, the one Rocket, man, so shut up...
posted by sparkletone at 9:14 AM on June 13, 2007

Why didn't they just fake the moon landings like we did?
posted by felix betachat at 9:17 AM on June 13, 2007

Very cool post. Thanks.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:25 AM on June 13, 2007

The last link is the most awesomest model rocketry project I have ever seen. Too bad the real N1 couldn't fly so well.
posted by localroger at 9:30 AM on June 13, 2007

VERY cool. would read again.

A buddy of mine here at work is from Ukraine. Ill forward him these links... Heh is going on and on about the Soviet dominance during teh cold war. This will make his day...
posted by subaruwrx at 9:37 AM on June 13, 2007

That is really cool, thanks. But reading things like this (and to a lesser extent the Jambox project) make me wonder where on earth these people get their free time.
posted by TedW at 10:27 AM on June 13, 2007

The reader question (at the "N1 rocket" link) possibly refers to Robert Altman's forgotten debut, Countdown.

Slightly related: The Nedelin catastrophe.
posted by dhartung at 10:31 AM on June 13, 2007

thanks for this post, this is really great. those guys are very dedicated! looks like it was a lot of fun.
posted by joeblough at 10:32 AM on June 13, 2007

All that effort and nobody videotaped the launch? The text says there was an onboard video camera. Where's the vid?! I want the vid.
posted by wsg at 11:01 AM on June 13, 2007

...all Rockets are, like, the one Rocket, man...

I couldn't agree more.
posted by rocket88 at 11:53 AM on June 13, 2007

Too bad the real N1 couldn't fly so well.

Yeah. The problem the N1 had was getting 30 engines to fire at once and keep burning. The US answer was "screw that" -- we dumped a whole bunch of R&D into making really big motors, and only used five.

The N1's first stage's killer problem -- the plumbing to feed thirty engines. Every launch, it failed, dropping several engines offline and catching fire. If I recall correctly, no N1 ever made it through a full first stage burn and stage.

We had a bunch of problem with feeding fuel and oxidizer to the five F1 engines in the Saturn five, with at least two launches suffering an engine-out during the boost. Trying to make thirty fly was a real problem, and the Soviets didn't have the resources to make it work at that time and place.

Three to five engines is somewhat of a magic zone for manned boosters. Less than three means you can't lose an engine without (at best) aborting. More than five means that complexity takes over.
posted by eriko at 12:10 PM on June 13, 2007

So very nearly eponysterical.
posted by greycap at 12:13 PM on June 13, 2007

Oh and a fantastic post. The Aerospaceweb link in particular was great, I spent ages exploring the site as a result.
posted by greycap at 12:14 PM on June 13, 2007

That model project is great. Thanks for the link!
posted by maxwelton at 12:25 PM on June 13, 2007

Correction: Polecat's N1 model was launched in 2007.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 12:34 PM on June 13, 2007

That is one bad-ass commie model rocket. [NOT COMMIEIST]*

*are we still doing that or is it all over?
posted by Mister_A at 1:48 PM on June 13, 2007

Slightly related: The Nedelin catastrophe.

Woah, did any of you catch the running man on fire from :35 to about :50 in to that link? Cray-zee.

My father worked on the main engines of the Shuttle (Honeywell contracted out the job, actually) and you ain't seen complexity until you've seen a Shuttle engine. Each one of those things has control over the equivalent of 7 Hoover Dams. Now that isn't nearly as impressive as the Saturn V's 80-whatever Hoover Dams, but the Saturns weren't throttleable*. Cool stuff, rockets.

Great links, Chinese Jet Pilot.

* I love the fact that an RBE (Really Big Engine) is measured in Hoover Dams—much the way that RBS (Really Big Storage) is measured in Library of Congresses.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:01 AM on June 14, 2007

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