Intelligence


UNMASKING N1-L3

An In-depth Analysis of a Critical Aspect of the Cold War: The Soviet Manned Lunar Programs, from the American and Russian Perspective.

Anti-Climatic End of the Lunar Race

11-03-10 - 11-29-10/8-10-11

By Charles P. Vick, 2008-2010-2011
All Rights Reserved

The Declassified Document with its Imagery Report:

What follows is the full CIB August 15, 1969 report that was declassified.

1. This is the official letter declassifying the redacted CIB 8-15-1969 on the "J" vehicle launch failure.

2. This is the title page of the declassifying CIB 8-15-1969 on the "J" vehicle launch failure as it went to President Richard M. Nixon and National Security Adviser Dr. Henry A. Kissinger (HAK)

3. This is the second page of the CIB 8-15-1969 with the right side image being the declassified August 3, 1969 CORONA image of the aftermath facility damage. The left side image is a KH-8 image of June 11, 1969. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent.

4. This shows the declassified screen covered KH-8 Gambit image of June 11, 1969. The image is uniquely because it shows and confirms the Russian time line data is correct that the 1M1 facilities systems test training booster is installed on the still being tested "J-2" 110 West launch pad launch infrastructure. The other second primary pad appears to be undergoing facilities calibration of both the erector transporter and pad interface before it was to be utilized for the 5L flight test booster rollout and erection on the pad. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent.

5. This is the image of the declassified redacted text that the White House would have seen as the early first full report of the pre climatic end of the lunar race. The suspected failure was known with in the first 24-36 hours after it happened but this is the first report of many that followed.

5. This is the image of the declassified redacted text that the White House would have seen as the early first full report of the pre climatic end of the lunar race. The suspected failure was known with in the first 24-36 hours after it happened but this is the first report of many that followed.

7. This is an image from the same report front page reference to page-8 of the CIB of 8-15-1969

8. This is that image of the ongoing text on Zond-7 from the same report

The Information Conveyed

For the full declassified text see images of the August 15, 1969 text cib815695 and cib815696.

The additional information from the redacted lines is deciphered though speculative on below to attempt to fill in the deleted areas. It took quite a careful review effort between Peter Pesavento best effort and the re-review by Charles Vick looking at many options and the available spaces and the typist typewriter spacing oddities to clarify this explanation in addition to knowing these things played a part in the data fusion collection during the previous weeks. See the text area study image atext.jpg for further details below:

This is the final text analysis believed to correctly fill the above noted gaps is as follows (inserted text in parentheses): THE EXPLOSION PROBABLY OCCURRED ON 3 JULY. ON THAT DAY INTERCEPTED COMMUNICATIONS (AMONG RANGE or SSESS or SSPSS SHIPS AND THE TTMTC RANGE HEAD) DISCLOSED THAT A BOOSTER HAD FAILED EARLY IN FLIGHT OR ON THE PAD. (MASINT-INCLUDING, ACOUSTIC, SEISMIC) STRONGLY SUGGESTED THAT THERE HAD BEEN AN EXPLOSION OF A VEHICLE (LARGER THAN THE PROTON) THE BIGGEST BOOSTER PREVIOUSLY USED BY THE SOVIETS.

Notes: The errors that are apparent that should have been declassified:

  1. TTMTC-TYURATAM MISSILE TEST CENTER is the declassified CIA-NPIC historic term publicly available in the CREST system of the National archives NARA.
  2. PROTON - SL-12 - the biggest previously used space booster was known even then historically and today as a commercial space booster to launch commercial scientific satellites. Information is available on the Proton Launch vehicle from the user's manual from International Launch Services. The "J" vehicle was and is known to be larger than the Proton SL-12 booster.
  3. SSESS- SOVIET SPACE EVENT SUPPORT SHIPS or, SSPSS-SOVIET SPACE SUPPORT SHIPS AND TRACKING STATIONS - Among is an obvious word in place of between to fit the available places and previous wording and the SSESS or SSPSS have been used interchangeable in declassified document available at the NARA, CREST system of CIA, DIA, ONI and NGA.

  4. MASINT as well as Acoustic & Seismic data collection is known from open source public data.

Further Intelligence Mystery

The CIB, KH-8/GAMBIT image has written on it June 1969, "J-1" the east side pad and "J-2" the west side pad identification of the Russian site 110 clearly identified for the Total TT-05 "J" Vehicle complex. The booster labeled "Launch vehicle" is the ground test Soviet "1M1" vehicle for facilities systems testing and training. There are also labels for tower adjacent collapse debris and fire damage on the image and other unreadable data. It goes on to further state in a written image statement that "Second pad undergoing checkout with launch vehicle in place. It appears to have been there until damaged by the 3 July explosion." How CIA or NPIC or NSA could know that remains an unresolved mystery? This is especially the case since the 1M1 was rolled out to test the second west "J" Vehicle pad J-2 some time after May 12, 1969 based on declassified CORONA imagery and returned to the MIK on June 21, 1969 according to the official Cosmodrome records.

The actual N1-L3S, 5L experimental flight test vehicle was roll out June 19, 1969 to the East J-1 pad and was subsequently launch unsuccessfully July 3, 1969. Yes, both the 1M1 and the 5L vehicles were on the pads together June 19-20-21, 1969 where those fascinating photographs of the two were captured for history. That imagery clearly shows the "Grasshopper" erector transporters is ready to pick up and remove the 1M1 test booster from the J-2 pad the following day.

There are indications that the 1M1 may have returned to the pad before 5L was launched and remained there for at least the next day after the catastrophic launch failure. There have also been statements by Russian sources that they had conducted or redone a countdown on the J-2 pad the day after the 5L explosion. It has been further suggested that the 1M1 was damaged by the 5L explosion. How a damaged vehicle could be utilized in a countdown demonstration remains an obvious question unresolved at this writing?

The emphasis is on "appears" when it in fact appears to be implausible for it to be there except for parallel test training purposes which is questionable until more information is declassified by the U. S Intelligence community. Could those reading this information have missed the correct guesstimating verse historic established fact issue here?

The whole intent is to test the Russian/Soviet historic record with declassified U. S. Intelligence records but what is it going to take to get all of these historic images and written materials declassified short of a ...

NOTE: NGA will not declassify the last of the KH-7 1966-67 imagery & the still classified KH-8 and KH-9 imagery unless forced by presidential executive order. The historic bottle neck is NGA to the CIA stuff, NPIC/NGA stuff, the FTD/NASIC stuff and the NSA stuff. "SHUTDOWN" The Declassification process has come to a stand still for this primary reason. It comes under E.O. 12951 that governs that process.

Detailed image analysis images with orbital two line data input for the proper view.

9. This is the heavily screened correct view of the CORONA image of August 3, 1969 of the aftermath of the launch facility damage. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent. See the higher quality CORONA image of August 3, 1969 below (Figure 14). There was literally no reason to screen this image for declassification at all.

10. This is an enlargement of what is believed to be the "J" Vehicle, 1M1 facilities systems test training booster on the 110 west pad on the Baikonur Cosmodrome. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent.

11. This is an enlargement close up detail of what is believed to be the correct view of the 110 east pad with the presence of what appears to maybe the erector transporter and its motive power multiple TE3 diesel locomotives as the equipment is undergoing alignment calibration for the erector for the "5L" booster pad installation at a later date. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent.

12. This is an enlargement close up detailed of what is believed to be the correct view of the 110 West pad with the presence of the unmistakable "J" Vehicle, 1M1 facilities systems test training booster on pad. CIA or NGA's heavy filter down grading of the image is very apparent. In the face of the declassified N1-L3 booster images films and video of the Russian Federal Space Agency and the S. P. Korolev, Rocket and Space Corporation, Energiya makes this redacting screening operation look very foolish and insulting to open public information.

14. This is a higher quality declassified image of the same Aug. 3, 1969 image of the destruction of the 110 East launch facility infrastructure as a result of the "5L" launch attempt failure.

15. These two aerial views of the S. P. Korolev, Rocket and Space Corporation of the 1M1 on the far 110 west pad and the 5L vehicles on 110 east pad in the foreground June 20, 1969. (Complements Mark Wade Astronautix.com)

16. These two aerial views of the S. P. Korolev, Rocket and Space Corporation of the 1M1 on the far 110 west pad and the 5L vehicles on 110 east pad in the foreground June 20, 1969. (Complements Mark Wade Astronautix.com)

Further KH-7 and KH-8 Imagery

The following image is from a KH-7 or KH-8 mission film yet to be made available for the publics review for historic research. It comes from the NARA/CIA Crest system document titled: "TYURATAM MISSILE TEST CENTER, LAUNCH COMPLEX J, GROUND SUPPORT EQUIPMENT, Approved for Release 2003/08/05." This is described as the first image to reveal the TUA transporter erector for the "J" Vehicle to be seen by the U. S. Intelligence community The text, less redactions, also follows.

"TYURATAM MISSILE TEST CENTER LAUNCH COMPLEX J GROUND SUPPORT EQUIPMENT

Recent photography of Launch Complex J (Figure 1) at the Tyuratam Missile Test Center has provided an excellent and unprecedented view of 3 Items of ground support equipment. In addition to the service tower/erector previously observed under construction at Launch Area JI-J2, 2 new pieces of equipment were seen for the first time within the missile assembly and checkout facility.

The service tower/erector forward of Pad Jl exhibited several new features (Figure 2). The vertical shaft which rises above one corner of the base has reached a height of approximately 445 feet. The steel latticework supports for this shaft, which rise from the other 2 corners of the triangular base, have been extended to a height of approximately 335 feet. Service platforms have been constructed along the side of the vertical shaft opposite the latticework supports. The top of the highest platform is approximately [REDACTED] above ground level, and the base of the lowest platform is approximately 100 feet off the ground.

Perhaps the more Interesting of the new Items Is a very large transporter/erector (Figure 3), probably for use In handling the first and, perhaps concurrently, second stages of the space booster to be launched from Launch Complex J. On [REDACTED] it was observed on the western pair of transporter tracks (previously Identified as gantry tracks) Immediately north of the missile assembly building (MAB), but on the following day it was no longer present. The transporter/erector is built of heavy structural steel and latticework members, with the main portion [REDACTED] in length and [REDACTED] in overall width. The base Is largely obscured by shadow, but apparently consists of specially constructed platforms positioned on each of the 2 western lanes of the transporter tracks and connected by strong transverse members. At one end of the transporter/ erector, strong vertical members rise 85 feet from each side. From the top of each vertical member, a longitudinal...

(2 Pages, including one page with photo enlargements redacted in full)

...member slopes downward to intersect the base near the opposite end. The vertical and sloping longitudinal members are set [REDACTED] apart, Indicating the maximum diameter of the stage or stages to be handled by this equipment. Heavy truss work has been added between the base and the vertical and sloping longitudinal members to increase the rigidity of the structure. A horizontal longitudinal member, approximately [REDACTED] above ground level, extends along the center line of the transporter /erector and overhangs each end to some extent. This centerline member, with an apparently integral [REDACTED] crossbar about midway along its length, is supported by a horizontal transverse member between the 2 vertical members at one end of the transporter/erector, and a less heavily constructed vertical member at the other end.

The other new Item of ground support equipment (Figure 4), which was observed under construction in the materiel storage yard north of the MAB, consists of 2 specially constructed rail-mounted platforms, each [REDACTED] feet long and [REDACTED] The platforms are positioned side-by-side on adjacent rail spurs, where they can be serviced by overhead gantry cranes. A narrow, generally rectangular lug juts above the surface at one end of each platform, and a pair of triangular lugs is about a third of the way along the top of each platform. At the end opposite the rectangular lugs, the top surface of each platform slopes gradually downward for the last [REDACTED] Cross bracing within each platform, consisting of perpendicular and diagonal struts, appears to exhibit mirror symmetry. This suggests that each platform will be on separate lanes of the transporter track and connected by transverse members to form either a single large piece of equipment (possibly a transporter) or, perhaps, a base for a second transporter/erector."

What remains to be declassified?

Repeated request to National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the DNI, and finally ISCAP have all been to no avail. Note, they will not declassify the last of the KH-7 1966-67 imagery and the still classified KH-8 and KH-9 imagery unless forced by presidential executive order. The historic bottle neck is NGA to the CIA stuff, NPIC/NGA stuff, the FTD/NASIC stuff and the NSA stuff. The Declassification process has come to a stand still for this primary reason. It comes under E. O. 12951.




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