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N1-L3 Soviet Moon Rocket

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Sponsored by BLAP! Models

by Vincent Meens

Scale: 1/90

The N1-L3 rocket was the Soviet response to the Saturn V US rocket. It was about the same size (105 m instead of 111 m for the Saturn) and weighted 2700 t (3000 for Saturn V). The main difference was the absence of very large engines for the first stage and cryogenic engines for the upper stages. The first stage used thirty 150 t thrust engines instead of only five 700 t thrust engines for the Saturn V. That was the main reason for the N1-L3 program failure as all four launches ended up in flame due to resonnance problems between the numerous engines of the first stage.

The model was made in 1997 and I chose the 1/90 scale as being the same scale as my Saturn V model. Both models were exhibited in 1997-1998 in the Cité de l'Espace in Toulouse, France for the 30th anniversary of the Moon landing.

In 2007, Alexie Leonov came to Toulouse for a Conference to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the space age. Had the N1-L3 program been a success, Leonov would have become the first Soviet Cosmonaut on the Moon. He was very interested by the model and kindly signed it.

Image: Overall model, front and back

Image: First stage

Image: Block V engines

Image: LK

Image: Alexi Leonov signing the model

Image: Leonov with the model

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This page was last updated 23 July 2009. © 2009 Starship Modeler