Space.com has an excellent article about the Space Race to the Moon. They’ve been able to peer into the Soviet archives and reveal the details on the super rocket that would ferry Soviets to the moon.
Here’s an excerpt:
Research that digs back over the decades is providing an illuminating look at the former Soviet Union’s failed bid to send cosmonauts to the moon.
Between February 1969 and November 1972, Soviet space engineers repeatedly saw any dream of landing a cosmonaut on the moon literally go up in flames.
A succession of four failures of the Soviet-built N-1 mega-booster led to the project’s cancellation by decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
A fifth launch of the super-booster was slated in the fourth quarter of 1974, one that gleaned lessons learned from the earlier unsuccessful flights.
Up in smoke and millions of rubles spent, the terminated N-1-L3 space project was to be topped by a lunar system to support a two-cosmonaut crew on a maximum flight time of 13 days to the moon and back to Earth, with one crew member setting foot upon the lunar surface.