Ever since K.Tsiolkovsky laid theoretical foundations
for a method to break the bonds of Earth's gravity and
reach space, the dream of flying to other planets in our
Solar System graduated from the realm of pure fantasy
into a field of practical activities. This work received
a powerful impetus from rapid development of rocket and
space technology in the second half of the 20-th century.
Design work on manned mission to planet Mars which, among
all the planets in our Solar System, has environments
that are closest to those of Earth, started at RSC Energia
almost as early as the work on first manned spaceflights.
One of the first projects to send humans to a planet of
our Solar System was the Heavy Interplanetary Manned Vehicle
project. As early as 1959, a team of enthusiasts was already
working on a concept, fantastic at the time, for a manned
mission to planets of our Solar System. Gradually, the
concept was taking on the form of a design, which became
the basis for defining specifications of the advanced
N1 rocket, then in its initial design phase.
N1 rocket was to put into a circular orbit a spacecraft
with an upper stage, which was then to be injected into
a Mars fly-by trajectory. Subsequently, assisted by the
martian gravity field, it was to come back to the vicinity
of the Earth, and the descent vehicle was to return to
Earth. The Heavy Interplanetary Manned Vehicle (HIMV)
had the mass of 75 tons, the length of 12 meters, a pressurized
cabin 6 meters in diameter, a crew of three, and the total
flight time of 2 or 3 years. It was envisaged as having
an instrumentation compartment (doubling as a radiation
shelter for the crew during solar flare activity), as
well as a chlorella reactor to provide food for the crew.
In flight, HIMV was to revolve about its axis to create
Since then, as the work progressed, the Mars mission concept
has undergone many chages and updates.