This is the first view of the "2L," SL-X-15/N1-L3 captured by the U.S. Intelligence spacecraft Corona. It is the N1-L3s FSLT &TV Facilities Systems Logistic Test and Training Vehicle, 1M1 sitting vertical on the first completed N1 east launch pad as seen on December 11, 1967.
The FST&TV, 1M1 occupied the launch pad from November 25, through December 12, 1967. It was returned to the MIK Factory Assembly Building on December 12, 1967. The purpose of this first brief stay on the pad was to confirm the booster and facilities interface fit and check details. Further testing of the facilities fuel farm operations along with its instrumentation calibration and the launch control centers off site automated electronic and pneumatic operations of the launch facility equipment in concert with the booster test vehicle were also probably tested during this brief stay on the pad. This would have also allowed for the identification of problems requiring further refinements and or development for future testing with the 1M1 FSLT & TV. This vehicle would remain with the program through 1975 when it was destroyed. During its lifetime it underwent four design revisions before its destruction. This included the replacement of entire stages with flight hardware or left over elements abandoned from flight use.
This picture shows the Grasshopper erector transport being readied to remove the test 1M1 booster from the launch pad on December 12, 1967. The only other hardware seen on site prior to this roll out was the arrival by railroad of the complete second stage from the Progress factory in Samara minus its interstage second plain. Clearly visible is the huge all white L-3 payload shroud with no (SAS) launch Escape Tower/Safety Assurance System and the N1s third and second stage. While the first stage is almost completely obscured from view because it is engulfed by the massive still horizontal erector and transporter apparatus. This picture also clearly shows that the second N1-L3 launch pad is still undergoing construction and a general post construction facilities cleanup.
The "1L" was the dynamic test vehicle produced in Samara at the Progress Factory and tested in Samara. All the individual stages were dynamically tested. The full stack of N1-L3 was not dynamically tested except in 1/4 scale at TsNIImash in "Korolyov," formerly Kaliningrad. There is evidence to suggest that the "1L," dynamic vehicle was not scrapped. As early as November-December 1966 marked the arrival on the cosmodrome of the first element of N1-L3 through early 1967, when 1M1's completed payload and upper stages and the parts to build its first stage arrived. Work on N1's infrastructure on the cosmodrome was started in the Spring 1963 with full ground breaking starting in August 1963. Work on the first "J" east pad started in September 1964 while the west pad work started in February 1966. The "J" east pad was not completed until August 1967 while the west "J" pad was completed in November-December, 1968.
N1's first stage was never static test fired on the launch pad. All testing of N1-L3 test components, stages and spacecraft propulsion systems took place in the Isayev, Zagorski test facility and the surrounding, Moscow, Korolyov (Kaliningrad) area and in Samara at the Korolyov SKB, Progress dedicated factory or in the nearby 20km away kuznetsov engine static test areas.
To quote Academician V. P. Mishin, " The launch pads were never equipped to accommodate static test firings of the first stage of N1." N1s first stage was only test fired in its four flight tests. All of this has been officially confirmed to me through other means from Russian sources available to me that were also official as well as written sources which can not be disclosed at this time.
For Further information
Part-1, See JBIS, V.47, 9 Sept 1994, P.357/
Part-2, See Spaceflight, V. 38, 1 Jan. 1996, p. 28.
Part-3, See Spaceflight, V.38, 8 Aug. 1996, P. 364.
See JBIS, V. 38, 1985, pp. 11-18.