New Insights from the Mishin Diaries

mishin.jpg The Mishin Diaries provide explosive insights into many mysteries and controversies surrounding the Soviet space program. In place of speculation and controversy, they confirm the actual mission and launch plans for the L1 and N1-L3 manned lunar programs; clear up the rationale for inexplicable programs such as the Soyuz manned orbital series, the Soyuz Kontakt docking system experiments, the Ye-8 robot lunar lander, and the Soyuz-S.

We now know that a Soviet manned circumlunar flight would definitely have involved launch of the crew separately from the translunar craft. A Soviet manned lunar landing would have involved two launches of the N1 super booster, with the second launch landing a homing beacon on the moon together with a backup lunar lander. The spacecraft and modules of the Mir space station of the 1980's were originally Phase 1 of a more ambitious program for an military space base, the MKBS. Phase 2, involving an enormous nuclear-powered space station launched by the N1, was cancelled together with the N1 in 1974.


Vasili Pavlovich Mishin (1917-2001) was the Chief Designer of Soviet space design bureau OKB-1 (AKA TskBEM) from 1966-1974, superseding Korolev. He led the bureau in the flight test stages of the L1 and N1-L3 manned lunar programs, the Soyuz manned spacecraft, the Salyut space station, and several previously more obscure programs, notably the MKBS orbital base.

These "diaries" are actually a compilation of notebooks containing handwritten notes jotted down by Mishin during the course of his incredibly busy work days. Most were cryptic notes from meetings, to-do-lists, outlines for presentations, or technical calculations. Therefore full sentences are rare, and many abbreviations were used. A Russian transcription of the diaries, including expert interpretation of the abbreviations, was released in three volumes on 21 January 2015. The editorial team led by Dmitry Payson, assisted by the late Maxim Tarasenko, Charles Vick and David Woods, spent years deciphering the notes.

What follows is a first review of the diaries for what they reveal about key remaining secrets of the Soviet space program. In the discussion that follows the source for the information is given in the format (3-60) (e.g. Volume 3 of the Mishin Diaries, page 60).

The Reality of Podsadka for the L1

l1posigl.jpg In 2004 Pesavento and Vick assembled evidence for the use of the podsadka alternative for Soyuz 7K-L1 (L1) manned circumlunar missions. The baseline (and officially, only) L1 flight plan was direct flight: Chelomei's Proton-K (UR-500K) booster would place the Proton 11S824 (Block D) translunar injection stage and L1 with a crew of two into a low earth parking orbit. The Block D would then fire to place the L1 crew on a circumlunar (loop around the moon) trajectory. The L1 spacecraft in this scenario had a gross mass of only 5300 kg compared to 6850 kg for the full-up Soyuz 7K-OK. The reduction was achieved largely by deleting the forward orbital living/airlock module of the 7K-OK.

The podsadka alternative involved launch of an unmanned L1 spacecraft and Block D stage into a low earth orbit by a UR-500K rocket; launch into that orbit of a Soyuz 7K-OK manned spacecraft with three crew by a Soyuz 11A511 rocket; rendezvous or docking in low earth orbit between the Soyuz 7K-OK and L1-Block D; transfer of two of the Soyuz crew to the L1; then firing of the Block D stage to put the L1 on a translunar trajectory.

Questions that remained open at the time of Pesavento and Vick's paper included:
  • When the scheme was first conceived (since Korolev had sold the L1 based on a single launch of the spacecraft by a UR-500K, in replacement of Chelomei's scheme for a single-launch mission using the UR-500K with Chelomei's own LK-1 spacecraft).
  • How seriously it was pursued.
  • Nature of the rendezvous system
  • Nature of the docking system (if any - Pesavento and Vick speculated that an inflatable airlock was fitted to the front of the L1, and the cosmonauts would free-float from the 7K-OK to the nearby L1).
  • When the idea was abandoned.
Now the Mishin diaries provide answers to these questions:

It turns out Korolev conceived of podsadka over a month before before the UR-500K-L1 was authorized. Initial calculations by OKB-1 showed that the developmental L1 would have a dry mass of 4641 kg, or 4847 kg after delivery of cosmonauts via podsadka. On the other hand, Kolyako in Division 2 estimated the translunar payload of the Block D as ~ 5000 kg in the single launch scenario, or ~ 5300 kg in the podsadka scenario. Following discussion on 15 Sept 1965, Korolev made the decision on 16 Sept 1965 that the L1 would be a single-design spacecraft, capable of being used in either the direct flight or podsadka schemes (1-178). At some point thereafter, it seems the version for podsadka was designated L1S (perhaps for L1-stykovky, L1-docking). So we have on 12 March 1966 (1-220) discussion of L1S Docking Complex / Landing System tests (Leave factory December 66; arrive test point January 67; Independent testing from March 67); and on 18 March 1966 (3-9) a message from BE Chertok on the development of Earth-to-Space equipment for the 7K-OK, 7K-L1, and 7K-L1S.

After Korolev's death in January 1966, on 23 March 1966 (1-226) acting director Mishin held a brainstorming session with this top managers to address "...our inconsistent lunar program." He noted alternatives that could be pursued: "1. Return to a two-launch scheme (podsadka, as baseline); 2. Keep with direct flight; 3. Use a Block D with storable propellants (perhaps a reference to the stage Chelomei had already been developing for the LK-1); 4. Use the 7K-OK as the designated return spacecraft." (This is perhaps a reference to a 1965 two-launch Soyuz-PLK scheme (1-34, 1-166, 1-169), involving launch of a complete 7400 kg Soyuz-PLK which would dock with a translunar injection stage. Perhaps in this 1966 version a fully-fueled Block D would be launched by Proton, followed by a Soyuz 7K-OK launched by an R-7 11A511 booster. After docking, the Block D would fire, sending the docked assembly on a translunar trajectory.) He noted that the L1 program was "a diversion for the bureau" to the core objective of landing a cosmonaut on the moon (the L3 program). Among the advantages of continuing with the L1, he noted that it "Utilizes the 7K-OK" - evidently there was no purpose for the spacecraft beyond the L1 mission in the podsadka scenario. He asks for frank opinions from his managers. V Rauschenbach noted that they "..have to do the L-1 ... and therefore we will have to use a 2-launch scheme based on the L1-S." BE Chertok: discussed the rendezvous and docking systems for the various spacecraft: "L1-S - 'Igla'; LOK - 'Kontakt' (since 'Igla' cannot be used on the LOK (due to mass considerations); or a new system for the LOK."

So here we have an indication that the L1 podsadka version did use the Igla system, which makes complete sense, since the Soyuz 7K-OK missions conducted dress rehearsals for podsadka using this system to rendezvous and dock two 7K-OK spacecraft in earth orbit. So the docking system for podsadka and the rationale for the first Soyuz flights (through Soyuz 5) is revealed.

The Ministry of Defense directive of 1 April 1966 (1-234) laid out the production rate for both the L1, Block D, and 7K-OK for the podsadka program:
7K-L1: one unit per month beginning 15 Sept 66
7K-OK for podsadka delivery of crews to L1: 1 unit per month beginning Oct 66
Block D deliveries: 1 unit 15 Sept; 1 unit 15 Oct; 1 further unit in October; and 1 unit per month thereafter.
A VPK Military-Industrial Commission resolution on the L1 program plan was issued on 20 April 1966 (1-234) and included the total accelerated program for build of 14 L1 and 6 7K-OK podsadka spacecraft:
1 unit 3rd quarter 66
4 units 4th quarter 66
3 units 1st quarter 67
3 units 2nd quarter 67
3 units 3rd quarter 67
7K-OK for delivery of crews to L1:
3 units 4th quarter 66
3 units 1st quarter 67
On 27 April 1966 VPK Resolution No. 101 (1-266) mandated an aggressive flight test program:
No 1 - August - Proton-2 (this may refer to the Proton / Block D full-mass mockup that was tested in October 1966 but then abandoned for safety reasons).
2-4: Flyby of the moon with the unpiloted version:
No 2 - October
No 3 - November
No 4 - December
No 5 - No 9: 7K-L1 flyby of the moon at intervals of one month with crew delivery by 7K-OK
No 10 - No 14: Direct flyby of the moon at one month intervals
This indicates that podsadka was the baseline approach for early circumlunar missions, for both safety and launch mass considerations. Only the last five missions would be direct flights. It was probably anticipated that by then the Proton booster would be reliable enough and that improvements to the Block D and the weight reduction on the L1 would make the single-launch approach feasible.

On 31 May 1966 Mishin makes a note for himself (1-284-285): "Get photos for VYa Litvinov of Blok D, 7K-L-1, 7K-L1S", indicating a commonality of theme for the L1 and L1S.

On 22 July 1966 (1-234) DF Ustinov, Secretary of the Central Committee for Defence and Space, berates Mishin on the slow start on the program. He stated "Do not underestimate the successes the US program Gemini. You need to consider a staged program of space exploration. The pace of progress in KIS and TP facility construction will not support launches within the mandated timeframe."

As a result of this review, two days (1-266) later, 24 July 1966, a revised flight L1 schedule is released:
No 1P - For 1M1 (N1 functional mockup) - 15 September
No 2P - 15 October & No 3P - October: Orbital flights with 2x (indecipherable) (1P, 2P and 3P were prototype L1's without heat shields and recovery possibilities).
Number 4 and 5: 2 units:Direct unpiloted flight with return to earth (November-December)
Numbers 6 to 10: 5 units: Flyby of the moon; 7K-L1 with crew transfer from 7K-OK (January to May 1967)
Numbers 11 to 14 (15): 4 units: Direct flyby of the moon by 7K-L1 (June-September) - launches every 1 to 1.5 months until completion
A few notes indicate continuity of the podsadka program to the end of 1966: (2 Dec 1966 (1-319): (discussion with) "NA Pilyugin - On the supply of (guidance) equipment for the 7K-L1S"; 6 Dec 1966 (1-252): Discussion with "YaI Tregub on 7K-L1 with crew delivery via 7K-OK").

Kamanin noted that podsadka was still the baseline approach at the State Commission meeting on L1 on 24 December 1966. By then the delivery schedule was at least three months behind the revised July 1966 schedule. In his diary on this meeting, Kamanin clearly describes the podsadka approach and states that the spacecraft will "dock", not rendezvous. He also notes the criticality of a Soviet man around the moon by November 7, 1967, the 50th Anniversary of the October Revolution.

The first L1 launch (relatively successful, although with many system failures) came on 10 March 1967 with 2P being launched under the cover name Cosmos 146. However the next launch, 3P as Cosmos 154 on April 8, was a failure. There were multiple failures aboard the L1 and the Block D failed to fire, leaving the spacecraft in parking orbit.

On 24 April came the space disaster that put the Soviet lunar program back several months. In a rehearsal of the podsadka scenario, 7K-OK number 4, designated Soyuz 1, was launched first as the active spacecraft with cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov abaord. Soyuz 2a, with a 3 man crew would launch the following day, with 2 cosmonauts spacewalking to Soyuz 1. Multiple failures aboard Soyuz 1 led to Komarov attempting a reentry the next day; he was killed when the spacecraft's main and backup parachutes both failed to deploy. Failure analysis and testing of a revised parachute system would take time, but by the next month Mishin was planning to launch an unmanned test of the docking scenario in July, followed by returning to the manned version in August.

On 5 May 1967 (2-22) the Soviet of Chief Designers met. They recommended that podsadka be dropped and direct flight become the baseline (evidently to make possible the objective of a Soviet man around the moon before November 1967). The reasons given were:
  • The successful flights of the UR-500K on the 2P and 3P flights, and the further 4 separate UR-500 launches provided confidence in the launch vehicle's reliability.
  • The main delays with L1 development would be in relation to development by BTsVM of the Argon-11 digital computer for its control system.
  • The failure of 7K-OK number 4 (Soyuz 1) indicated a delay in development of docking in earth orbit.
It was recommended that the 7K-L1 launch sequence be revised to two missions per month as follows:
  • 4L - "Zond" unmanned 17 - 29 June 1966
  • 5L - unmanned, circumlunar, 27 June - 5 July
  • 6L - "Zond", unmanned, 12 - 17 July
  • 7L - unmanned, circumlunar, 25 July - 3 August
Followed by circumlunar launches according to astronomical constraints (which would mean 23 August, 21 September, 19 October).

Mishin's notes indicate the revised test program for the rest of the year on 16 June 1967 (2-2). From this we can see that the podsadka still is considered essential, despite the Chief Designer's recommendation:
Month       VII VIII  IX   X  XI  XII
7K-OK              2   2   2   2   -
7K-L1         1    1   2   1   1   -

Delays in requalifying the parachute system for both L1 and the 7K-OK stalled things throughout the summer. Finally L1 number 4L launched on 29 September; but the booster's first stage failed, although the L1's launch escape system pulled it away and the capsule was recovered 65 km from the launch pad. The next attempt, with L1 number 5S on 22 November 1967, also failed (2-90 - the 5S designation seems to indicate this was a test of the podsadka version of the L1). This series of Proton launch failures (later attributed to problems in transitioning engine production from the design bureau to the production factory) would further delay the L1 and provide grounds to continue the podsadka program to provide a safe way to deliver the cosmonauts to the L1 in earth orbit. Having missed the November 1967 deadline, and given the Soyuz 1 debacle, Mishin was in no hurry to return to manned flights of either the L1 or 7K-OK until all systems had been thoroughly proven.

Problems continued to dog the L1 test program. Zond 4 / L1 number 6L March 1968 self-destructed during reentry when it was unable to conduct a lifting reentry; L1 Number 7L was lost in another booster failure in April 1968; 8L was lost when the Block D stage exploded on the pad in July 1968; finally Zond 5 looped around the moon in September 1968 and was recovered, albeit after a 20G ballistic reentry. Zond 6 in November 1968 looped around the moon, but the cabin depressurized in flight. It managed to make a lifting reentry but the parachute ejected prematurely, and the capsule crashed into the steppes, flattened to a pancake (and requiring a delicate dissection in situ by an OKB-1 team to remove the destruct charge - 10 kg of TNT).

Meanwhile, Soyuz 7K-OK flights resumed, and demonstrated automated rendezvous and docking using the Igla system on Cosmos 186/188 in October 1967 and Cosmos 212/213 in April 1968. Finally Soyuz 2/3 flew as a demonstration with a single crew member in October 1968. The way was clear for the Soyuz 4/5 podsadka demonstration flight in January 1969, followed by the first manned L1 flight in February 1969.

But this was all moot. The American Apollo 8 flew around the moon in December 1968, and with the propaganda value lost, the L1 looked too dangerous to continue. Manned L1 flights were abandoned, and after Soyuz 4/5 finally demonstrated the podsadka technique in January 1969, the 7K-OK was abandoned as well (the remaining spacecraft being used for other purposes).

In conclusion, podsadka was the main scenario in the L1 program, from the very inception right up to the January 1969. 14 7K-L1's and 6 podadka 7K-OK's were built. And it seems that at least one podsadka 7K-L1S, number 5S, was flown.

For podsadka, the Soyuz 7K-OK / Igla type rendezvous and docking system would have been used. Pesavento and Vick's concept for an inflatable airlock at the forward end of the L1 does not have any support in Mishin notes and would not be possible using the Igla docking system demonstrated on the 7K-OK. On the other hand Mishin never discusses the method the crew would use to enter the L1. The side hatch on the L1 capsule was available for crew entry by the removal of the backup parachute system. It would seem most likely that the podsadka L1 spacecraft would use an inflatable airlock on the side hatch, as demonstrated in the Voskhod-2 flight in 1965.

l1.jpgAn L1 illustration in the Kaluga museum may support this scenario. Another alternative would be an entry into a depressurized L1 through the side hatch without the airlock. It has been argued that Soviet avionics could not survive a cabin depressurization. However Zond 6 and Soyuz 11 both functioned after cabin depressurization; and the LK lunar lander would also have been depressurized during the crew transfer. The nature of the L1 side hatch remains open unless revealed elsewhere in a closer reading of Mishin's notes, or revealed by another source.

Identity of the L1S, L1A, L1E, and L3S

There has been a lot of confusion concerning the designations L1A, L1P, L1S, L1E, and L3S. The interpretation of these designations is related to understanding the payloads carried aboard the various N1 test vehicles. Some of this confusion turns out to be due to some designations being used to describe a complex consisting of multiple stages and spacecraft, and in some cases an individual spacecraft. Mishin usually makes the distinction by using the 7K- prefix to indicate a spacecraft is being discussed, and the L designation alone when discussing a complex composed of more than one spacecraft and stage. So, for example, L1 is the complex launched by the UR-500K booster consisting of the Block D translunar injection stage and the 7K-L1 (article number 11F91) spacecraft. The Mishin diaries finally provide some clarity on the other designations:
  • L1P was the L1 prototype version used on the first test fights (1-234, 1-291)
  • L1S was the version of the L1 for docking with the 7K-OK in the podsadka scenario, as concluded previously. The version of the 7K-OK that would dock with the L1S was the 7K-OKT (2-52). The official RKK Energia history mentions the L1S in connection with the N1 ("...Flight tests of the N1 rocket with the simplified payload system L3 with unmanned spacecraft 7K-L1S instead of LOK and LK began in February 1969...") but this is not supported in Mishin's notes, which only use this designation in connection with the L1 flights, and never later in the notes when the N1 was the predominate concern.
  • L1A was the version of the L1 spacecraft used for unmanned tests of the Block D version of the N1 in both earth orbit and lunar orbit (2-14; 2-25; 2-29). It had the article number 11F92 (2-12, 2-29). It consisted of the L1, plus certain other components of the LOK (guidance systems, fuel cells, forward thruster package) carried for in-space test. These varied from mission to mission. The L1A was necessary since the Block D stage, used for lunar orbit insertion and to take the LK lunar lander to just above the lunar surface, had no guidance system of its own.
  • L1E was the name of the complex used for testing of the L3 version of the Block D in earth orbit, launched by the UR-500K (2-12). The L1E complex consisted of the L3 version of the Block D together with the L1A. The L1E was also referred to as the T1K in the earth orbit variant (with the test of the LK lunar lander in earth orbit referred to as T2K).
  • L3S was the name of the complex used for testing of the L3 version of the Block D in lunar orbit, launched by the N1. The L3S complex consisted of the L3 version of the Block D, an LK mockup, and the L1A. All versions of the L3S known included the thruster package at the forward end of the L1A.

N1-L3: The Soviet Moon Landing: Two Launches Using the Ye-8-2 Robot Beacon and LK-R backup lander

dlb2.jpg In a situation analogous to the L1, Korolev had sold the Soviet leadership on supporting the N1-L3 program on the basis of a single launch of the N1 booster to achieve a Soviet man on the moon. However two-launch scenarios were considered from nearly the beginning. This was not because, as Soviet critics alleged, that it was impossible to get the mass of the L3 lunar payload down to the available payload of the N1 (although there are pages showing every kilogram being squeezed out of the L3). It was rather for safety and guidance concerns.

The two-launch N1 scenario did not involve two lunar expeditions or separate launch of the 7K-LOK lunar orbiter and LK lunar lander. Instead, the first launch would be of a Babakin Luna Ye-8-2 robot lunar landar and an unmanned backup version of the LK lunar lander, the LKR. In the final version of this scheme, the Ye-8 would land on the moon, check out the landing site, and was equipped with a the beacon of the 'Liga' system, which would allow an LK to automatically home in for a precision landing nearby. (The identification of the Ye-8 beacon version as Ye-8-2 is new; previously only the Ye-8-5 designation for the later soil return version was known).

The second N1 would launch the L3 lunar expedition, with a crew of two aboard the LOK lunar orbiter and the primary LK. The single cosmonaut that would descend to the surface would spacewalk from the LOK lunar orbit to the LK, and then land on the moon using the Liga system. In the event his LK was faulty, and could not depart from the lunar surface, the LKR delivered in the first launch would land automatically using the Liga system, providing a rescue spacecraft for the cosmonaut to return to lunar orbit and dock with the waiting manned LOK.

This scenario was discussed as early as 2 December 1966 (1-235) in an interdepartmental technical review with MV Keldysh. At this point the Ye-8 would be delivered to the moon by a UR-500K launch vehicle. The basic constraint was the 5300 kg payload capability of the Block D to translunar injection. This meant tradeoffs in the accuracy of the Ye-8's initial landing versus its lifetime on the surface waiting for arrival of the LK. It was agreed that a working group would meet the next day to develop final specifications for the Ye-8 and a more detailed outline of the N1-L3 expedition plan using Ye-8. (start-up sequence, the time, the connections between LK, LOK and Ye-8, the means for determining the location). KD Bushuyev was to study the backup LK concept.

As an alternative, the possibility was raised in April 1967 of the Ye-8 being equipped with a life support system to allow the cosmonaut to remain on the moon until a rescue expedition could be launched with an LKR. But Ye-8 chief designer Babakin said at that time that this was not feasible (2-60; 2-62). However as if 29 August 1968 (2-149) it was still being pursued, with Mishin complaining the detailed specifications for the Ye-8 life support system with interface documents for connections to the cosmonaut's space suit had not yet been issued.

On 14 October 1967 (2-84) detailed issues of communicating simultaneously at lunar distances with the Ye-8, LK, and LOK from both the Crimea and Cuban tracking stations were being worked out. At the the Lunar Soviet of 25 November 1967 (2-90) the same issues were considered in relation to Soviet tracking ships.

By 1 February 1968 (2-119), in preparation for a Soviet of Chief Designers four days later, detailed consideration of many issues was underway. These included changes to the baseline LK orbit and ascent trajectories to allow rendezvous of an LKR with the waiting LOK even after a delay of more than six orbits in departure; and changes to the landing profile to prevent shrapnel from jettison of the LKR's Block D lunar crasher stage impacting the waiting cosmonaut's LK. 250 liters of increased propellant would be required in the LKR for a higher altitude Block D jettison; or the Block D could continue firing and make a maneuver after separation to assure it would impact well away from the active landing site.

The plan was disclosed to the other Chief Designers on 5 February (2-120). Chertok compared the "Kontakt" and "Liga" systems, and noted that the "Liga" elements in the control loop control system simplified LK landing. MS Ryazanskiy noted that this contradicted a decision two years ago to have the LK make an autonomous landing on the moon (LK homing on and landing near a beacon was postponed at that time). But AS Mnatsakanian supported the approach, saying it was necessary to speed up the development of the "Liga", which provided a precision landing on the moon within 50 to 100 m of the target.

On 7 February 1968 (2-120), at the expert commission on the UR-500K-L1 (Tyulin, Stroganov, Keldysh, Kashtanov and others), Bushuyev provided the status of development of the LK-R. A note on 17 June 1968 (2-139) indicates continued discussion within OKB-1 with VK Bezverby and KD Bushuyev on homing (the word actually used was berthing) the LK and LK-R on the Ye-8 (precision landing, coordination of interfaces). Finally the issue was taken to the top, at a meeting with DF Ustinov, head of the Military Industrial Commission, on 23 August 1968, where the N1-L3 expedition using the Ye-8 was pitched by Babakin (2-149).

But the triumph of the American Apollo 8 orbiting the moon in December 1968 made it clear that the Soviets would not be first to the moon. At a meeting with SA Afanasyev on 10 January 1969, alternatives were discussed. Afanasyev considered that one near-term solution would be a 2 launch scheme => 2 crew:0 crew). Ryazanskiy mentions the Ye8-4 (otherwise not identifed - perhaps an early version of the Ye-8-5), and states, "It is necessary to rethink the N1-L3 program. The scheme cannot be single launch. (LK-R + Ye8-2); 2 launch scheme with docking in lunar orbit."

On 24 January 1969 Mishin noted (2-158) "T1K, T2K, L1E essential"; and again reviewed the scheme for a lunar expedition of LK + LK-R + Ye-8. This was followed the next day in a meeting with his guidance expert, NA Pilyugin, "It is necessary to consider the possibility of 2 launch schemes: with Ye-8 and without Ye-8 OV (Examine all possibilities to improve the accuracy of the landing)."

The first N1 missions would rehearse the two-launch scenario, with the Ye-8 being launched by a UR-500K and an L3S standing in for the LOK (no LK being available yet). Kamanin had already noted in his diary on 3 February: "The State Commission for the first Ye-8 robot lunar rover mission is chaired by Tyulin at Area 31. The spacecraft will make a soft landing on the moon, deploy a mobile lunar rover that can traverse slopes up to 30 degrees. The rover will find a position that is clear of obstacles for the first Soviet manned lunar landing. It will then park there, and provide a landing beacon for the LK manned lander. The spacecraft will have a mass of 1700 kg in lunar orbit. Launch is set for 19-20 February."

In reality the UR-500K booster failed again on 19 February and the Ye-8 crashed 15 km from the launch pad rather than landing on the moon.

Despite part of the rehearsal for the two-launch scenario being voided, the first N-1 was launched on 21 February, and failed after 69 seconds of flight.

On March 9, the Americans launched Apollo 9, and tested all of the booster and spacecraft for the manned lunar landing successfully in low earth orbit. Barring a disaster, the Americans would clearly win the moon race by summer, and the N1-L3 would have very little propaganda value any more.

With this in mind, by 16 April 1969 it appears that the LKR is being considered as a possibility to extend the duration and scientific value of a two-launch lunar landing (2-176) with the note "KD Bushuyev - On the development of instrumentation for research on the moon aboard the LK-R." This is followed by a meeting on 3 June with senior government managers (2-202): "Meeting in TsKBEM with LV Smirnov, MV Keldysh. et al. Issues that require acceleration: ...3. Development of LK-R in an automatic version with a maximum use of opportunities to expand research."

On May 26, Apollo 10 returned from the moon, the crew having descended to within 15 km of the surface without landing. The way was now set for Apollo 11 to land in July.

A scheme had already been formulated in January to upstage the Americans. The Ye-8-5, a version of the Ye-8 designed to drill a small sample of lunar soil and return it to earth would be accelerated (2-187). This could be launched in coordination with the L3S. Although not a manned lunar landing, it would provide a Soviet crew in orbit around the moon, and return of lunar soil to earth, nearly matching the Apollo mission. The last chance to upstage the Americans was a combined launch of the N1-L3S and Ye-8-5 before Apollo 11 in July.

But again failures wrecked the scheme. The first Ye-8-5 was lost when the Block D failed to put it on a translunar trajectory on 14 June 1969. The launch of the N1-L3S on 3 July resulted in an enormous explosion on the pad. A final launch of the Ye-8-5 (as Luna 15) succeeded in getting to the moon, but crashed into the surface. On 21 July Chertok recalled:
We watched the Apollo 11 flight on the television at TsNIImash. After the happy conclusion of the lunar expedition, Tyulin proposed stopping by the director's office. There, over a glass of cognac, he said: "This is all Chertok's fault. In 1945 he came up with a scheme to snatch von Braun from the Americans and didn't manage to pull it off." Chertok replied bitterly: "And it s a very good thing that Vasya Kharchev and I failed in that undertaking. Von Braun would have sat for some time in our country uselessly on an island, and then he would have been sent to the GDR, where as a former Nazi he wouldn't have been cleared to work anywhere. And so with the help of the Americans, he fulfilled not only his own dream, but also that of all mankind."
The two-launch scenario with the LKR was still the baseline for at least a year. On 16 February 1970 Mishin notes (2-301): "9. Refine Lunar Expedition using LK, LK-R and Ye-8." This is the last mention; by 1971 a new five-year plan had been approve d. Under this plan the N1-L3 was dropped and OKB-1 was pursuing the N1 with the giant MOK military earth orbit space station and the L3M two-launch lunar expedition using new lunar spacecraft (with a podsadka approach to deliver the crew to earth orbit by the new 7K-S!).

7K-S and MKBS

Soyuz 7K-S was a military version of Soyuz, originally developed as the ferry spacecraft for Mishin's Soyuz OB-VI military orbital station (themselves a replacement for Kozlov's cancelled Soyuz VI). The OB-VI was in turn cancelled in 1969 (after the end of the equivalent US MOL project). However development of the 7K-S continued, up to a series of unmanned test flights in 1974-1976. Thereafter it was abandoned, and after protracted development emerged as the Soyuz T transport to Soviet space stations in the later 1970's.

mkbs.jpg The MKBS grew out of Korolev studies in the 60's (OS, TKS Heavy Space Station, OP) for N1-launched earth orbit stations. Although details of the MKBS and its MOK core module were disclosed previously, there was no indication of the level of effort being devoted to it. Although with the cancellation of the N1 the MOK station core was abandoned, other elements of the program continued. MKBS-1 was in fact the original designation for the Mir station and its support spacecraft. So the Progress resupply ships, Soyuz T transport, the Aelita free-flyer telescope, and the modules of Mir all began as MKBS docked or free-flying modules.

Mishin's diaries reveal that the 7K-S was being developed as the shuttle-to-orbit portion of the N1-launched MKBS military orbital space base. This work continued full bore heading toward a launch of MKBS-1 in 1977 until the N1 was cancelled in 1974. The diaries also reveal (as hinted at by Chertok) that an ultimate objective of the MKBS was to operate and service a series of beam weapons in earth orbit. This was alleged in leaks to Aviation Week in the 1970's during the Carter administration (and contributed to the pressure for Reagan's Star Wars program). But detailed contemporary evidence has not been available before.

The first mention of MKBS is made in a list of projects DI Kozlov was developing as of 12 March 1966 (1-219):
1. Military research ship (e.g. 7K-VI)
2. Transport ship due to the station "Almaz" (e.g. 7K-S, at that time the transport version of the 7K-VI with a docking tunnel)
3. MKBS multipurpose space base station (preliminary project) - specification requirements.
4. "Procyon" - Draft Project - classified (interesting unidentified military project)
5. Block "D" - (full responsibility) - including experimental work.

On 4 October 1967 Mishin conducts a rather grim review of the cutbacks to his OKB's budget for 1968. Consider the shortfall in his request compared with the challenge of beating the Americans to the moon!
Review with Company Management on Occasion of Tenth Anniversary of Sputnik 1
Plan for 1968.
1. Funding:
R&D - 7.5 million Rubles. (26 million requested).
including YaRD nuclear rocket engine- 6 million., MKBS - 0.5 million., L-5 - 0.5 mln., Yantar - 0.5 million.
Experimental design work - 266 million. (Requested 333 million).
Funded 3 sets N1-L3 instead of 6 sets.
For 7K-OK - 11, 12, 13, 14 (shortfall 20%).
N1-L3 (3 sets - 207 million., Including 38 million experimental work. Stages A, B, V, G - 22.8 million. Payloads (LOK, LK, Block D, GO) - 9.5 million. Blocks E and I - free of charge. (under direct contract with Isayev).
2. Plan - does not meet the 5-year plan. Not included at all:
- Modernization of the N1-L3.
- In R&D - Modernization of the RT-2M (in full).
- EYaRD (nuclear electric propulsion)- instead of in R&D - to search for funding.
dosliso.jpg The true purpose of MKBS is first revealed in a notation on 24 January 1969: (2-159) "MKBS - Under the guise of national economic objectives will be used to create a system of special space weapons."

In the post mortem on the N1 after the Apollo 8 mission, MKBS became a key justification for continuing with the N1:
On 10 January 1969 (2-184), Meeting with SA Afanasyev: YuA Mozzhorin: N1 is the basis for MKBS. Try "Almaz" on the N1 (as a quick solution?).

And on 26 January 1969 (2-159)
MS Ryazanskiy: Our biggest problem - we think only 2 - 3 years ahead. Are we no longer prepared to create a TOS Heavy orbital station? After 7K-VI need to create a large space stations.
VI Scheulov: Creation of a powerful space station on the basis of N1 would offset, to to some extent, the effect of the United States winning the moon race. MKBS would achieve long-duration through rotation of crews. Modification is necessary in parallel with the existing launch vehicle. We must build two new launch facilities allowing simultaneous launches. (It is necessary to assign the task to develop those launch facilities.)
And 29 January 1969 (2-162):
SO Okhapkin: I do not agree with the first part of the speech of VP Mishin. We accepted obligations and have not fulfilled them. We deceived the Central Committee and the government with the second part of the performance agreement. These will have terrible consequences (no communication satellites or MKBS, etc.)
KP Feoktistov: Orientation toward Mars - is correct. We will achieve Mars - and the moon, and the TOS heavy space station. The OKB should complete the ordered spacecraft, all the systems, and ordered launch vehicles... the TMK - for Mars, the Moon and the MKBS (cover for weapons systems development)
Chertok: It is good that the program proposed by the Soviet of Chief Designers was approved unanimously. Big manned spacecraft to Mars (and from that to derive standard modules with automatic options for Earth manned flights.) MKBS - for defense purposes.
VK Bezverby: Use EYaRD nuclear electric propulsion for deep space missions and MKBS (for defense purposes).

On 9 February 1969 MV Keldysh is warning that these projects should use the existing N1 and trying to justify a program to upgrade it are premature (2-197). "MV Keldysh - MKBS (use the existing launch vehicles) and direct broadcast satellites could also use existing LV's. Proposals for modernization are premature. Mozzhorin, Narimanov - also against the modernized N1M."

soyuzr.jpg By 10 February 1969 Mishin is considering MKBS weapons aspects and the use of the transport version of the 7K-VI with the station: (2-194): "12. Strictly analyze planning for design and development of space weapons systems (separation minima). In achieving mastery of outer space payloads over 100 t are needed, as MKBS should have an orbit above 10,000 km. (Necessary to study optimum orbit). Consider the design of the docking system of the 7K-VI, which provides a transition from one ship to another."

On 30 July 1969, after the Apollo 11 moon landing, an ambiguous note (2-211): "The Supreme Council: DF Ustinov MV Keldysh, SA Afanasiev, PV Dementiev, VD Kalmyks, ID Serbin, BA Stroganov, et al: TsKBEM should not? be expending funds on MKBS (Unclear: perhaps 'not' crossed out by the author)

On 9 August 1969 Mishin pitched his first draft for the next five year plan, with an upgraded N1M to launch expeditions to the moon, Mars, and MKBS. Again his plans to improve the N1 were not well received (2-213):
Meeting with the DF Ustinov (22.00) on the rocket and space Five Year Plan. N1-L3 - Core package for lunar exploration. Expedition to Mars \ necessary to accelerate MKBS / MV Keldysh - Against OB-VI and against N1M with EYaRD. There are three preliminary designs for an expedition to Mars (TsKBEM (MEK), Chelomei (MK-700), Yangel (interesting reference - no information has surfaced yet on Yangel's Mars expedition design)
"Luch" (evidently a reference to an N1-launched geosynchronous satellite, or a beam weapon, not the later Luch communications satellite) - you need to develop (especially realistic antijamming measures). NA Pilyugin - against the N1M LV.

The next five year plan indeed emphasized the use of the N1 for MKBS and robot soil return missions to Mars by the mid-1970's. But an N1M and improved lunar spacecraft would be developed for establishment of a moon base late in the decade. This is all laid out in a review of the proposed five-year plan on 16 February 1970 (2-302):
25. Budget Review - 5 Year Plan (presumed in thousands of rubles)
Experimental design work - 8734
R&D - 680
Projected over 5 yrs
Experimental Base - 3314
N1-L3 - 2665
DOS (later Salyut)- 170
Almaz - 645
Topaz - 750 (unknown code name).
Apparatus for military use - 825 (Capital investments) 350
National economy. others - 928 (Capital investments)150
Launch Vehicles - 255 (Capital investments)116
Launch complexes - 476 (Capital investments)91
Skh.A. (unknown abbreviation) - 830 (Capital investments)293
EYaRD - 380
Launch work - 780 (Capital investments)760
(There follows a very interesting N1 launch schedule, including Mars 5NM):
N1-L3             71 72 73 74 75 Σ
(11A52) 3 4 4 4 2 17
11A52 for Mars-75 - - - - 2 2
Grand total 19

26. On the draft resolution for the MKBS.
1. Use the same cooperation established in the design and manufacture of DOS.
2. Expand the cooperation of developers in various departments (especially on power, life support systems, equipment for national economic and scientific purposes).
2. Create the necessary experimental and industrial base (with the planned cooperation of developers).
3. Select TsKBEM factory for serial instrument production with MOM.
4. Determine the organization within MOM (former Nikitin) for the development of simulators and control panels.
5. Organize mass production 7K-S at the plant in Omsk (or in the factory "Progress"). (Omsk is chosen - Mishin will regret this later).
6. Hydrogen blocks N1 Block Sr and N1 Block S - TsKBEM factory and plant "Progress."
7. Instruct Affiliate TsKBM (comrade Bugayskiy) development of MKA (shuttle) according to TsKBEM's requirements (an interesting allusion to the very start of development of the LKS space shuttle by Chelomei's organization).
8. Determine the parent organization for the production of "Almaz" - organization of Chelomei (Reutov).
9. Immediately begin design work on the technical positions for MKBS ... see paragraph 21 (to establish a single NTS Scientific and Technical Council)
5 March 1970 (2-263): "VK Bezverby - It is necessary to make a proposal for the establishment of heavy MKBS."

Consultations with leadership intensify in July 1970: (23 July (2-300) Meeting with SA Afanasyev on MKBS; Preliminary discussion of the main provisions for the development of the MKBS (in TsKBEM). 26 July (2-300): Organize the work of designers (those needed and useful) for blocks Sr, S and MKBS. (Okhapkin, Bushuyev Chertok, Bezverby, Kolyako, Feoktistov, Timchenko, Legostaev - have to involved)

Notes on 24 September 1970 (2-287) provide an idea of the schedules - Modernization of the N-1 (5 yrs). 1971 - Draft project - N1-L3M (N1S). 1972 - Draft project - MKBS. 1974 - Beginning of MKBS.

On 25 September 1970 comes the definite news that the MEK Mars expedition (2-287) is off, but the MKBS ('the big girdle') is still under consideration by the military industrial commission. The N1-launched Luch communications satellite is to come in 1973.

On 20 October 1970 Mishin reviews the work and configurations of the Lox/LH2 (S and Sr) upper stages for the N1 necessary to achieve various programs (2-293). Here we see evidence for several previously hinted-at but poorly-documented projects: the OS-1 Lunar Orbital Station, the MAVR manned Mars-Venus-Flyby Spacecraft:
AM Isaev - about speeding work on the engine 11D56 (RD-56). AM Lyulka - about speeding work on the engine 11D57 (RD-57).
1. S, Sr - LOS (the OS-1 Lunar orbital station?) SNTV satellite for direct TV broadcasting, MAVT (MAVR?), DOS-II (later Mir).
2. S + Sr - L3M, Mavr, MKBS
3. S + S + Sr - L3M, MKBS, Mavr and others.
4. NII - DOS (20t - indecipherable) - this apparently refers to later plans to dump Chelomei's Proton vehicle and go back to the original plan to use the N11 (consisting of the second and third stages of the N1) for this earth orbit payload class.
5. N1S => 110 t (the low earth payload for this version of the improved N1 - this is a previously unidentified designation, perhaps referring to the N1 using the Block S Lox/LH2 upper stage).

More MKBS military applications (possibly as a communications station with submerged submarines) are mentioned on 30 October 1970 (2-294): "Chembrovsky - On the application of long waves (1 km) to the MKBS."

A meeting with LV Smirnov and MV Keldysh on 26 November 1970 (2-296) goes through a shopping list of the vast work needed to be done on MKBS:
On accelerating the work on MKBS: - Power
- Life support systems
- Equipment for scientific research
- Equipment for the benefit of the national economy
- Funding
- Building design and experimental base
- Development of production capacity
- Expansion of cooperation
And again on 12 November 1970: (2-299): "12:00 - DF Ustinov (Smirnov, Keldysh Afanasiev, Serbin, Stroganov, Kommissarov, Tsarev, Kerimov and others.) ... 2) MKBS - Accelerate after 1973. It is necessary to accelerate the draft resolution on the MKBS and associated activities - EYaRD, reusable transport spacecraft."

Meetings in January 1971 continue the level of coordination (4, 10, 12 January (2-314)). A note on 16 January (2-320)indicates that a primary purpose of the DOS Salyut station was to demonstrate long-stay crew endurance for the rotating crews of the MKBS: "10:00 - IMBP (Vorobyev, Gazenko, Nefedov) About 30-day flight to the DOS number 1. Increasing the duration spaceflight on these DOS missions. Work on the MKBS."

On 23 March Mishin is already dealing in delays with getting the MIK facilities in Baikonur converted to MKBS work: "There is no clarity on hydrogen handling and lightning protection systems; Need supply of equipment; There's nothing on the long-term work (test stands, MIK expansion, MKBS accommodation, and EYaRD)."

By May the planning has progressed to the point where there will be an MKBS-1 with a DOS core (AKA DOS-A, later Mir); while MKBS-2 will use the MOK N1-launched core: 7 May 1971: "At the Soviet of the State Chief Designers (17K)- About DOS number 3 and number 4 and DOS-A (MKBS-1)."

And on 17 May 1971 (2-330):
Bezerby VK and Melnikov MV - Materials on the experimental base for EYaRD. Okhapkin SO - About the acceleration of work on blocks N1 Block R and Sr. Call Karpov AG - On specifications for MKBS-1. The development of the MOK should be in full swing, but testing of individual systems should be conducted on the MKBS-1 (DOS). The main question - how long can a man live in space, and what can he do better than automatic systems?
And on 18 May: "Bushuyev KD and Bezverbo VK: Justify the need for the MKBS-1 based in DOS."

In June 1971 another disaster - the Soyuz 11 crew dies after visiting the first DOS station (Salyut 1) when their capsule depressurizes during return to earth. Following the N1-L3 program failures, this leads to loss of support for Mishin's always-ambitious future plans (as contrasted with his dismal performance getting reliable hardware to fly).

Meetings with Mishin's section deputies on 15 and 23 July (2-336) are in preparation to a meeting of the N1-L3 Expert Commission with SA Afanasiev on 25 July. Here the N1-L3 is finally killed, constraints on Mishin's plans are established, and it is stated openly that the Soviet Union could never have landed a cosmonaut on the moon using the N1-L3:

1. Agree that the N1-L3 could not land a cosmonaut.
2. LOK, LK - cancelled.
3. N-1 to be used for MKBS, Mars 75, 77, etc.
4. Lunar Expedition - proceed. (but the solution is not clear. Machines may be better.)
5. Costs for N1-L3 to 1 January 1971: 2.9 billion rubles. Required to complete - 3.0 billion.
6. Unreliability must be solved through reliability testing.
7. Extend the use of N1 (LKI, Mars-75, Mars-77, MKBS).
8. Identify what you need to alter based on testing.
9. Proceed with development of hydrogen stages, but you need to use the existing stages for now.
In a follow-up call to Afanasiev on 2 August, Mishin notes: "On conclusion of the expert committee on the N1-L3 (and Comrade Tsarev VPK): 7KS - MKBS-1 - MKBS-2 - Continue; Enlarge the crew to six people for short stays."

On 10 August the MKBS is seen in the context of its military application and a unified program with DOS and Almaz: "Meeting of the Central Committee Comrade DF Ustinov (The main directions of development of space weapons for 1971-80 biennium). ... DOS - Almaz - MKBS-I - MKBS-II: Philosophy: Continuity." This leads to staff meetings in the following days to emphasize a modular approach to MKBS (12 August - "Meeting with Bezverby VK on MKBS (philosophy of design). Yurasova IE - philosophy of building block control systems for MKBS. MKBS = Integrated module consisting of blocks. Modules = integrated function blocks. Function blocks: General Purpose, Specialized, Service. General purpose units: (control systems, power, habitation, etc.)."

The issues of the crew shuttle to be used (evidently choices are the existing Soyuz, 7KS, Chelomei's spaceplane, or the new high L/D spacecraft): "Bezverby VK MKBS-1 on N-1 and variants of crew transport spacecraft (2-362 21 September): and on 26 September: "About MKBS-1 product number 10, 11 - N-1. (Which LV will deliver crew - 7K-T) - Consider options."

By 29 September, details are being analyzed (2-346): "Chertok, Bezverby - Discussed the docking systems for heavy modules (MKBS)." The draft decree for the station, however, is stuck in reviews by the leadership: "Called Afanasiev- Status of the draft decree on MKBS (lies with Rabinovich). The draft decree on development of greater power (the letter is with EP Slavsky)."

On 1 October podsadka is considered again: (2-347) "Think about podsadka approach to providing crew using 7K-S...MOK (MKBS, transport systems, specialized satellites)." And on 10 October (2-348) a detailed list of project phases for the integrated MKBS-Lunar program are laid out:
Complex number 1
1. Improving N-1 (Increase thrust, increase reliability and survivability, operational testing).
2. Improving upper stages N1 Block G, N1 Block D (performance, reliability and survivability, operational testing).
3. Development of DM (later Proton 11S86) with operational testing.
4. Development of standardized units of Stage S (Sr, Sr-L3M et al.).
5. Development of block N (evidently a reference to a nuclear N1 upper stage - which would eventually be the Interorbital Tug.
Complex number 2
1. DOS 7KT - series production.
3. 7KS
4. L3M - (SA (reentry vehicle), LPU (lunar rover, perhaps later the Lunokhod LEK), PAO)
5. SA (reentry vehicle) reusable.
A technical meeting on 11 November 1971 considers "the work plan for L3M and the use of the N-1 LV for other tasks of space exploration (MKBS, stationary satellite, Mars-75)." There is a meeting with SA Afanasiev the next day on the draft decision of the VPK on MOK ("MKBS, not MOK", corrects Tyulin!). And on the following day the extent of the work ahead is laid out:
Organize a group for the study of systems specifications for MOK.
a) For the transport system Earth - Orbit - Earth.
b) For the interorbital tug - stationary orbit and others.
c) For the control systems for MKBS and future systems.
g) For the new reentry vehicle with L/D = 0.6.
d) For the coolant systems.
e) For the SEP (need in stages).
g) For the micrometeorite protection.
h) For the radiation protection.
i) For the pressurization systems, etc.
Detailed work on test stands for block Sr and MKBS is begun on 15 November. As the program goes into 1972, hardware is being developed; but Mishin is losing support for the existing program.

On 16 June 1972, Mishin notes problems with 7KS at Omsk and the rationale for continued testing of Kontakt: "1. Klyucharev VM: Omsk plant (Director Kolupaev) - Delayed production of 7KS living compartments. ZEM - develop work and schedules to recover schedule for completion of 7KS modules. 2. Chertok: 7K-OK number 18 - rework using the proulsion system from number 36. Work on "Kontakt" to continue, as it can be used in the MKBS'.

The new operational test philosophy and weaponry for MKBS is elaborated in a note on 30 June 1972: (3-65): "Review the possibility of testing and testing of avionics for the spacecraft on the MKBS in real space conditions instead of working in ground conditions with stands and costly ground installations that simulate space flight conditions.
Review MV Melnikov's materials on the use of electronic and neutron beams for special purposes."

By 2 August 1972 the leadership is not returning Mishin's calls and he considers the situation (2-370):
For study:
1. Increase the payload for the launch vehicle for the 7KST by modernizing Block I by using the 11D58M engine.
2. OB-7KST - New arrangement with the container in front (and for scientific and military research equipment).
3. Work out our technical policy for DOS 7KT in a given situation.
- Spacecraft numbers 34, 33, 35 - maybe defer some of them to DOS-3.
- As was provided for in this case in ZEM plan for 1972
4. Utmost acceleration of 7KS.
5. N1-L3 in this situation - a general solution. All for a successful operation. (But we need to agree with MOM.)
6. Accelerate work on MOK - MKBS 1st step.
New propulsion approaches are considered on 20 September 1972: "Controllabe microelectric engines for spacecraft, DOS and MKBS (Ovchinnikov VS)."

On 23 November 1972 N1 7L explodes just short of first stage burnout. The entire program is in jeopardy, but the Five Year Plan must be fulfilled. On 9 January 1973 Mishin marshals his arguments to continue: "On the advice of the Soviet of Chief Designers once again emphasize the importance of N-1 (primarily for the Lunar Expedition and directions indecipherable). As long as getting to the moon cannot be accomplished, emphasize the MOK (MKBS) and DOS."

On 13 July 1973 Mishin lays out the design philosophy and rationale for MKBS (3-97):
Technical Positions for MOK development.
1. MOK - the minimum number of the most standardized rocket and space systems, to solve all problems in the foreseeable future in near-Earth space in the interests of science, the economy and defense.
2.) Space-based MOK systems - the most cost-effective solution to the problem of getting a significant increase in the service life of the missile and space vehicles.
a) ZB -> TS (UMTS) -> MKBS
b) MKBS -> MSA -> SSS
3. The modular structure of MOK's standardized elements, components, systems and assemblies.
Standardized systems:
- Propulsion systems (DO, DPO, SKD, main engines).
- Life-support systems.
- Power supply systems.
- Control and orientation systems.
- Navigation systems (automatic and manned spacecraft).
The elements of these systems must be maintainable and interchangeable.
4. All satellites modules should be automatically controlled spacecraft providing for the possibility of repair of all their vital elements with special manned spacecraft for on-orbit service, or repair modules from the MKBS delivered orbit-to-orbit by MKBS special spacecraft.
5.) There should be a phased approach to create MOK with maximum use in the initial phase of existing rocket and space vehicles.
On 5 October 1973 (3-104), Mishin presents to the Academic Soviet the high-level justification and purpose of MKBS:
Principal basis for the development of the MOK
1. Providing solutions in targeted areas of defense, science and the economy as they may change over 10-20 years. Enabling rapid replacement of legacy systems, devices and components by more sophisticated systems without changing the logic of construction of the MOK as a whole and its constituent satellite systems and basic modules.
2. Solution targets a minimum number of satellite modules using common equipment and apparatus.
3. Complex solution of defense, economic and scientific problems using MKBS - the main base of the MOK, for logistics and maintenance of a long-term operation and cost-effective transport system.
4. The modular structure of the MOK. Wide standardization, harmonization of systems, devices, compartments, aggregates. All elements of these systems, devices, units must be maintainable and interchangeable.
5. Ensuring long-term service life (5-10 years) of the MOK through periodic visits CM astronauts for routine maintenance, based on the MKBS.
6. MOK should provide the most cost-effective creation of rocket-space tools for addressing the full range of targets, most cost-effective organization of logistics, maintenance and management of the complex in comparison with existing systems. The development of the IOC should be considered as the direction of development of rocket and space technology to solve national problems with the least material costs.
7. Stages of creation MOK as the development and creation of the necessary special systems.
And receives the following criticisms:
1. All elements of MKBS (especially spacecraft based on the 7KS) must have the new layout of systems and equipment, providing repair and replacement.
2. GP Melnikov - MKBS is necessary, but give priority to modules SM-1 and SM-2 (these are specialized military free-flyers).
3. You need to rethink the section on handling scientific information.
4. Do we need to upgrade or add all these launch sites (R-7, UR-500 and N-1) for MOK (especially the UR500K launch complex)? VP Barmin offers not to upgrade the old UR-500 launch complexes, and spend those funds on new complexes (in fact these two additional UR-500 complexes would be the only ones built after the N1 / MKBS cancellation).
5. You need a special decision of the Central Committee of the CPSU and special funding for construction.
6. Which launch vehicles to implement the MOK.
ND Ustinov suggests use of the UR-500 with a fluorine-ammonia upper stage to launch the SNTV direct television broadcasting system

By 8 December 1973 (3-150) things are reaching a crisis. Mishin's notes show preparation for a fight for survival:
9.00 - Departure for meeting at number 33 (with GK Kerimov, Tishkin).
1. The first 2-3 volumes of MOK and other materials.
2. Abstracts of the NTS on MOK.
3. Specifications for the MKBS-1.
4. Materials 7M.
5. Materials L3M.
6. The composition of the payloads number 8 to number 13, inclusive.
7. Materials from VI Petrov (Preliminary budget plan for 1975-1990)
And on 11 December we see the planned program in desperate notes from (3-154):
Review materials sent from Moscow.
1. Long-term program TSKBEM (projected) (See. Ref. 4/4748 dated 10 October 1973 from MOM).
MKBS-1 on UR-500K (this would later be Mir)-
Number 1 - 1977
Number 2 - 1978 - 79
MKBS on N-1 - Number 1 - 1983
Number 2 - 1988
N-11 (this refers to the use of the N-11 to replace the UR-500K for boosting modules to MKBS-1/Mir)
1 - 1978
2 - 1979
MKTS on the basis of the first-stage N1 - 1985 with the augmented engine - 1988-90 (this is a reference to the air-augmented N1-MOK with the spaceplane second stage, as revealed contemporaneously to USAF agent Peter James!)
Performance in accordance with the "additional materials to the plan for experimental work in 1976-1990. See ref. 10414 dated 6.XII.1973.
2. TSKBEM work plan for 1974.
- Clarify:
a) The number for transport spacecraft to object "A", S.A. (Afanasiev?)
b) The number of DM (ZEM cannot produce the quantity.)
- No specification from TsNIIMMASH for the heavy launch vehicle (not to mention its scientific and technical justification).
3. Thematic plan for experimental work for TsKBEM in 1974.
4. R&D
All these materials require serious revision. (Focused, real and concrete, etc.) -Need to reduce the subject areas, the scope of work and remove excessive detail.
Call Bezverby VK - For papers on MOK.
Received in response via telegram a runaround (old papers are in the materials of the Academic Council). And I need - new papers. (I do not have - or have not yet found - my copies of these papers)
On the first two days of 1974, Mishin catalogues the issues and notes his supporters in almost Shakespearian language (3-167):
To do:
1. Now, when considering our long-term program and the use of near-earth space (including the Moon) for different purposes, it is necessary to clearly define the sequence of its implementation.
Especially decide - where to start? (Especially in the present situation).
- It is necessary as soon as possible to show the rationality inherent in the program guidelines.
Namely a space-based MOK.
- Optimal location for OAA systems: based on MKBS (DOS) - or visited the MPM for routine maintenance or brought near-MKBS for the same purpose.
- Reusable transport ship based on the 7M, and then a reusable transport system based on the work on the N-1 (but with a new engine system in stage 1).
- Space problems solved by the OAA.
- A great resource. (even after these events)
Where to start?
? (7KS)
1. DOS 5 (6?) + 7KT + 7KTT + 7KS-OR
7KS-OR (evidently a reconnaissance version of the 7KS using existing unmanned reconnsat hardware) - view as the embodiment of the most efficient use of the developed equipment (Zenit-Yantar)
Negotiations with DI Kozlov (What does he want?)
2. All that in the first only on the basis of the 7M, to create the MTK and MPM (talks with EV Shabarov)
What will NII-4 (the leading military space research institute) handle?
1. Operative follow-up exploration.
2. Armed struggle in outer space.
3. The defeat of the moving targets.
4. Electronic countermeasures
5. Use of stationary orbit.
6. Use of of sun-synchronous orbits.
NII-4 GUKOS supports (but only at the lower levels): 1. R-7M (this is a reference to an advanced R-7M, not documented elsewhere, perhaps with a Lox/LH2 upper stage, capable of putting an 12t payload into a sun synchronous orbit); 2. N-1?; 3. N-11
Support in the MO (Ministry of Defense) for the N-1 - signed by Alekseyev Nikolai and Tolubko.
Navy is indifferent to MOK (they do not understand the prospects)
It is necessary to establish a relationship with the customer. He is interested in this (Attract DI Kozlov!)
- Write a detailed letter on MOK to Afanasiev (copied to the Central Committee) (With a draft work order)
- Draft a memo to the Central Committee for DF Ustinov. (Long-term planning)
- Achieve color television for the Soyuz-M (NN Detinov - CC)
- TsKBEM review of the level of work on special equipment in related organizations.
- Write a memo about the possibilities of "A" in the operational intelligence. (VK Bezverby together with TsNIIMASH).
- Deal with the radio channel on the "Yantar". Orders: VK Bezverby
- The draft memo on the need of long-term integrated planning by the state. TsKBEM work on MOK - 1st to attempt its development.
On 28 February 1974 yet more brainstorming on all issues (3-176):
21. Form a unit in TsKBEM for special equipment (e.g. classified military) (for some complexes).
22. Develop ideas on the feasibility of developing and creating two-stage rocket for launch into low earth orbit. (Comparison with 3-stage rocket, the advantages and disadvantages).
23. Conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing MKTS based on two-stage rocket.
24. Conduct research on performance 2-stage rocket for launch of payloads to earth orbit using different fuel components (Including solid propellant).
25. Elaborate design for a surveillance module based on MKBS-1 derived from the N-110.
26. Review a 2-stage N-1 for MKBS-II, a 3-stage for moving heavy SM modules to geostationary orbit and lunar orbits.
Questions for SA Afanasiev
1. His attitude to R-7M. Who is going to build it?
2. His attitude towards the N-11. (2-stage for moving spacecraft to sun-synchronous orbit).
3. On the sequence of launches of DOS and "Almaz".
4. On the development work on MOK.
About MOK - based on our promising developments. Basis MOK - space-based, and it should be checked already on the DOS-5 having two connecting nodes.
5. On the shuttle on the basis of R-7M.

And in April 1974 Mishin records the final list of planned spacecraft (3-184):
MOK-1 stages.
Booster R-7M - Payload to sun-synchronous ~ 12 tons. It will deliver the following to the MKBS:
1) MTKK Space Shuttle - manned version for delivery and return of the crew of astronauts on the MKBS (perhaps the origin for the later Zarya spacecraft).
2) MTKK Space Shuttle - cargo version.
3) SM Special Module - a non-returnable, autonomous and dockable with the MKBS (all-weather reconnaissance) (perhaps the origin of the later USB spacecraft).
4) MSK - the inter-satellite ship - automatic and manned. Launch vehicle - N-11 Payload = 18 tons (23 tons) (perhaps the origin of the later 37ks spacecraft).
MKBS-1 in sun-synchronous orbit.
Mishin was removed on 2 May 1974. The N1, and the spacecraft it was to launch were cancelled. MKBS-1 continued as the Mir project. Military research was moved to Chelomei's Almaz and TKS spacecraft. But Mishin's convey the ambition and scope of the MKBS project, and make clear that the path of Soviet manned astronautics for the remainder of the century was established in that program.