The Info List - R-7 Semyorka

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The R-7 (Russian: Р-7 "Семёрка") was a Soviet missile developed during the Cold War, and the world's first intercontinental ballistic missile.[1] The R-7 made 28 launches between 1957 and 1961, but was never deployed operationally. A derivative, the R-7A, was deployed from 1959 to 1968. To the West it was known by the NATO reporting name SS-6 Sapwood and within the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
by the GRAU index 8K71. In modified form, it launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit, and became the basis for the R-7 family which includes Sputnik, Luna, Molniya, Vostok, and Voskhod space launchers, as well as later Soyuz variants. The widely used nickname for the R-7 launcher, "Semyorka", means "the 7" in Russian.


1 Description 2 Development 3 Operational history 4 Variants 5 Operators 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Description[edit] The R-7 was 34 m (112 ft) long, 3.02 m (9.9 ft) in diameter and weighed 280 metric tons (280 long tons; 310 short tons); it had two stages, powered by rocket engines using liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene and capable of delivering its payload up to 8,800 km (5,500 mi), with an accuracy (CEP) of around 5 km (3.1 mi). A single thermonuclear warhead was carried with a nominal yield of 3 megatons of TNT. The initial launch was boosted by four strap-on liquid rocket boosters making up the first stage, with a central 'sustainer' motor powering through both the first and the second stage. Each strap-on booster included two vernier thrusters and the core stage included four.[2] The guidance system was inertial with radio control of the vernier thrusters. Development[edit]

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Design work began in 1953 at OKB-1 in Kaliningrad in Moscow Oblast (presently Korolev, Moscow Oblast) and other divisions with the requirement for a two-stage missile of 170 metric tons (170 long tons; 190 short tons) with a range of 8,000 km (5,000 mi) and the maximum speed of 20 mach[3] carrying a 3,000 kg (6,600 lb) warhead. Following first ground tests in late 1953 the initial design was heavily reworked and the final design was not approved until May 1954 and Korolev reportedly reviewed more than 100 design proposals. In 1954 draft project was completed. For the first time in the history of the development of the conceptual design firm Sergei Pavlovich Korolev was created, received the room volume № 14. This volume was developed under the leadership of the Arcady Ilyich Ostashev and devoted to the organization of test missiles. Contrary to claims[by whom?] that the R-7 was based largely on experience and assistance of German scientists, the missile is noteworthy for looking beyond past achievements that had used German ideas. For example, instead of using jet vanes for control, which increased resistance generated at the engine nozzle exhaust outlet, the R-7 used special control engines. These same engines served as the last stage’s vernier thrusters.[4] Because of clustered design, each booster had its own propellant tanks. The design team had to develop a system to regulate the propellant component consumption ratio and to synchronize the consumption between the boosters.[4] Starting from the R-1, which was a copy of the German V-2, a free-standing missile was launched from a horizontal pad. It turned out that assembling a cluster of a central core and four boosters on the pad is almost impossible without it falling apart. Also, a wind gust could knock the missile off of the pad. The solution was to eliminate the pad and to suspend the entire rocket in the trusses that bear both vertical weight load as well as horizontal wind forces. The launch system simulated flight conditions with strap-on boosters pushing the central core forward.[4] The new missile's GRAU
index was 8K71. The first flight-ready vehicle was delivered to the Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
on 1 May 1957, and flown on 15 May. A fire broke out in the Blok D strap-on almost immediately at liftoff. It broke away from the booster at T+88 seconds, which crashed 400 km (248 miles) downrange. The next attempt on 11 June (notable the same day the United States conducted its first test launch of an ICBM), an electrical short caused the missile to start rolling uncontrollably and disintegrate 33 seconds after liftoff. The first successful long flight, of 6,000 km (3,700 mi), was made on 21 August 1957. The dummy warhead impacted in the Pacific Ocean and five days later, TASS announced that the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
had "successfully tested a multi-stage intercontinental ballistic missile". A modified version of the missile (8K71PS) placed Sputnik 1 in orbit from Baikonur
on 4 October 1957 and Sputnik 2
Sputnik 2
on 3 November 1957. The next ICBM test took place on 30 January 1958, but the strap-ons failed to separate cleanly and damaged plumbing in the core stage, which lost thrust and impacted far off target. These early flights revealed assorted design flaws in the R-7 which necessitated multiple modifications to the missile. Testing continued through December 1959, and the last original 8K71 flew on 27 February 1961. The additional development resulted in the 8K74 (also known as R-7A), which was lighter, had better navigation systems, more powerful engines, extended its range to 12,000 km by carrying more fuel, and increased payload to 5,370 kg (11,840 lb). In addition, the missile was designed to be easier to take apart and service. The warhead was tested on Novaya Zemlya
Novaya Zemlya
in October 1957 and again in 1958, yielding an estimated 2.9 Mt.[citation needed] Aside from the initial Sputnik launches, the 8K71 formed the basis of the 8K72 booster used for the first generation Luna probes. However, six out of nine Luna probes launched on the 8K72 failed. Combined with the failed Sputnik launch on 27 April 1958, this brought the booster's total space launch record to 6 successes in 13 attempts. The improved 8K74 would then form the basis for the later Vostok and Molniya boosters, greatly increasing reliability.

Operational history[edit] The first strategic-missile unit became operational on 9 February 1959 at Plesetsk in north-west Russia.[5] On 15 December 1959 the R-7 missile was tested at Plesetsk for the first time. The missiles were fully deployed by 1962. Total service was limited to no more than ten nuclear-armed missiles active at any time. A single launch pad was operational at Baikonur and from six to eight were in operation at Plesetsk.[6] The costs of the system were high, mostly due to the difficulty of constructing in remote areas the large launch sites required. At one point, each launch site was projected to cost 5% of the total Soviet defense budget. Besides the cost, the missile system faced other operational challenges. With the U-2 overflights, the huge R-7 launch complexes could not be hidden and therefore could be expected to be destroyed quickly in any nuclear war. Also, the R-7 took almost twenty hours to prepare for launching, and it could not be left on alert for more than a day due to its cryogenic fuel system. Therefore, the Soviet force could not be kept on permanent alert and could have been subject to an air strike before launching. Additionally, the huge payload for which it was designed, adapted to early heavy H-bombs, became irrelevant with the coming of lighter bomb technology. The limitations of the R-7 pushed the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
into rapidly developing second-generation missiles which would be more viable weapons systems. The R-7 was phased out of military service by 1968. While the R-7 turned out to be impractical as a weapon, it became the basis for a series of Soviet expendable space launch vehicles. The derivatives of the R-7 missile became successful space launch vehicles, which are still being used in modified form. Variants[edit]

SS-6 Sapwood NATO reporting name for all versions of the R-7, variants identified by suffix letter on the name portion (e.g. Sapwood-A). R-7 Semyorka First launch 15 May 1957, last launch 27 February 1961; 27 launch attempts, 18 of which were successful. R-7A Semyorka First launch 23 December 1959, last launch 25 July 1967; 21 launch attempts, 18 of which were successful. 8K71 The GRAU
designation for the R-7 Semyorka
R-7 Semyorka
missile ( GRAU
8K: Missiles 71: model number) 8K74 The GRAU
designation for the R-7A Semyorka
R-7A Semyorka
missile ( GRAU
8K: Missiles 74: model number) 8K71PS Sputnik 1
Sputnik 1

Note: Much developed variants of the R-7 are still active:

(11A511U) Soyuz-FG
(11A511U-FG) Soyuz-2.1a
(14A14A) Soyuz-2.1b


 Soviet Union The Strategic Missile Troops
Strategic Missile Troops
was the only operator of the Semyorka.

See also[edit]

R-7 space launchers List of missiles List of Russian inventions


^ Wade, Mark. "R-7". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 4 July 2011.  ^ "Rocket R-7". S.P.Korolev RSC Energia.  ^ Bora, Champak Jyoti. Missile
Systems. Lulu.com. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-329-59323-7.  ^ a b c "Boris Chertok: Rockets and People, p. 290" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-11.  ^ "This Week in EUCOM
History: February 6–12, 1959". EUCOM. 6 February 2012. Archived from the original on 21 September 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 4 September 2008. 

The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword, Steven J. Zaloga, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London, 2002.

External links[edit]

Rocket R-7 from S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, a Russian rocket and space contractor The R-7 Missile, history of its development Socio-educational portal «Workers of the cosmos»

v t e

R-7 rockets

Main articles

R-7 family R-7 Semyorka



R-7 Semyorka R-7A Semyorka

Launch systems

Sputnik Polyot Voskhod


Luna Vostok-L Vostok-K Vostok-2 Vostok-2M


Molniya Molniya-M Molniya-L


Soyuz/Vostok Soyuz Soyuz-L Soyuz-M Soyuz-U Soyuz-U2 Soyuz-FG


Soyuz 2.1a / STA Soyuz 2.1b / STB Soyuz 2-1v

Launch sites


Site 1/5 Site 31/6


Site 41/1 Site 16/2 Site 43/3 Site 43/4


Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz


Site 1S


1957–1959 1960–1964 1965–1969 1970–1974 1975–1979 1980–1984 1985–1989 1990–1994 1995–1999 2000–2004 2005–2009 2010–2014 2015–2019

See also

Korolyov Cross Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre RD-107

v t e

NATO designation for Russian and former Soviet Union
Soviet Union

Air-to-air missiles (complete list)

AA-1 Alkali AA-2 Atoll AA-3 Anab AA-4 Awl AA-5 Ash AA-6 Acrid AA-7 Apex AA-8 Aphid AA-9 Amos AA-10 Alamo AA-11 Archer AA-12 Adder AA-13 Arrow K-74M2 (R-73M) K-77M (R-77M) KS-172

Air-to-surface missiles (complete list)

AS-1 Kennel AS-2 Kipper AS-3 Kangaroo AS-4 Kitchen AS-5 Kelt AS-6 Kingfish AS-7 Kerry AS-8 Kokon AT-6 AS-9 Kyle AS-10 Karen AS-11 Kilter AS-12 Kegler AS-13 Kingbolt AS-14 Kedge AS-15 Kent AS-16 Kickback AS-17 Krypton AS-18 Kazoo AS-X-19 Koala AS-20 Kayak AS-X-21 AS-22 Kh-59MK2S AS-4M Kh-32 AS-23 Kh-38/36 AS-24 Kh-36 AS-25 Kh-50 AS-26 Kh-BD Kh-41 Kh-61 Kh-74M2 "GZUR" Kh-76 (Kinzhal?) Zirkon (Kh-72?) ASM

Anti-tank missiles (complete list)

AT-1 Snapper AT-2 Swatter AT-3 Sagger AT-4 Spigot AT-5 Spandrel AT-6 Spiral AT-7 Saxhorn AT-8 Songster AT-9 Spiral-2 AT-10 Stabber AT-11 Sniper AT-12 Swinger AT-13 Saxhorn-2 АТ-14 Spriggan АТ-15 Springer AT-16 Scallion

Surface-to-air missiles (complete list)

Ground based

SA-1 Guild SA-2 Guideline SA-3 Goa SA-4 Ganef SA-5 Gammon SA-6 Gainful SA-7 Grail SA-8 Gecko SA-9 Gaskin SA-10 Grumble SA-11 Gadfly SA-12 Gladiator/Giant SA-13 Gopher SA-14 Gremlin SA-15 Gauntlet SA-16 Gimlet SA-17 Grizzly SA-18 Grouse SA-19 Grison SA-20 Gargoyle SA-21 Growler SA-22 Greyhound SA-23 Gladiator/Giant SA-24 Grinch SA-25 Morfey S-350E Sosna-R

Naval based

SA-N-1 Goa SA-N-2 Guideline SA-N-3 Goblet SA-N-4 Gecko SA-N-5 Grail SA-N-6 Grumble SA-N-7 Gadfly SA-N-8 Gremlin SA-N-9 Gauntlet SA-N-10 Grouse SA-N-11 Grison SA-N-12 Grizzly SA-N-14 Grouse SA-N-20 Gargoyle Sosna-R


ABM-1 Galosh ABM-3/ 53T6
Gazelle S-500

Surface-to-surface missiles (complete list)

Ground based

SS-1 Scunner/SS-1 Scud
(Scud-A/-B/-C/-D) SS-2 Sibling SS-3 Shyster SS-4 Sandal SS-5 Skean SS-6 Sapwood SS-7 Saddler SS-8 Sasin SS-8B Sasin 2 SS-9 Scarp SS-10 Scrag SS-11 Sego SS-12 Scaleboard SS-X-13 Savage SS-13 Savage SS-14 Scamp/Scapegoat SS-15 Scrooge SS-16 Sinner SS-17 Spanker SS-18 Satan SS-19 Stiletto SS-20 Saber SS-21 Scarab SS-22 Scaleboard SS-23 Spider SS-24 Scalpel SS-25 Sickle SS-26 Stone SS-27 Sickle B SS-28 Saber 2 SS-29 Yars SS-X-30 Satan 2 SS-X-31 Rubezh SS-X-32Zh Barguzin Avangard HGV, Yu-7. 9M730 NRECM

Naval based

SS-N-1 Scrubber SS-N-2 Styx SS-N-3c Shaddock SS-N-3a Shaddock 3b Sepal SS-N-4 Sark SS-N-5 Sark/Serb D-6 D-6M D-7 R-15M SS-N-6 Serb SS-N-7 Starbright SS-N-8 Sawfly SS-N-9 Siren SS-N-12 Sandbox SS-NX-13 Serb SS-N-14 Silex SS-N-15 Starfish SS-N-16 Stallion SS-N-17 Snipe SS-N-18 Stingray SS-N-19 Shipwreck SS-NX-20 Sturgeon SS-N-21 Sampson SS-N-22 Sunburn SS-N-23 Skiff R29RM SS-N-23A Skiff SS-N-23B Skiff SS-NX-24 Scorpion SS-N-25 Switchblade SS-N-26 Strobile SS-N-27 Sizzler SS-N-30A 3M-14 SS-NX-28 SS-N-29 SS-N-32 SS-N-33 3M-51 Alfa

v t e

Russian and former Soviet military designation sequences for radar, missile and rocket systems

Radar systems


A-100 P-3 P-8 P-10 P-12 P-14 P-15 P-18 P-19 P-20 P-30 P-35 P-37 P-40 P-70 P-80 P-100 Kabina 66 Kasta 2E RSN-225 Azov SNR-75 1S91 30N6 36D6 64N6 76N6 96L6E 9S15 9S19 9S32 Duga Dnestr Dnepr Daryal Dunay Volga Don-2N Voronezh Container



N001 N002 N005 N006 N007 N008 N010 N011 N012 N014 N019 N025 N035 N036



BZhRK GR-1 R-7 R-9 R-16 R-26 R-36 R-36M R-46 RS-24 RS-26 RT-2 RT-2PM RT-2PM2 RT-20 RT-21 RT-23 RS-28 UR-100 UR-100MR UR-100N UR-200


R-14 RSD-10


R-5 R-12 RT-15 RT-25


2K1 2K6 9K52 9K720 R-1 R-2 R-11 R-11A R-17 OTR-21 OTR-23 TR-1


R-13 R-15 R-21 R-27 R-29 R-39 RSM-45 RSM-56

Surface-to-surface (cruise)

Burya RSS-40

Surface-to-surface (naval)

P-1 P-5 P-15 P-70 P-120 P-270 P-500 P-700 P-750 P-800 P-900 P-900A P-1000 RKV-500A RPK-2 RPK-6 RPK-7 URPK-3 URPK-4 URPK-5


2K11 Krug/SA-4 "Ganef" 2K12 Kub/SA-6 "Gainful" 2K22 Tunguska/SA-19 "Grison"/SA-N-11 (tracked gun-missile system including SA-19) Kashtan CIWS
Kashtan CIWS
(naval gun-missile system including SA-19/SA-N-11) 9K33 Osa/SA-8 "Gecko"/SA-N-4 9K31 Strela-1/SA-9 "Gaskin" 9K32 Strela-2, a.k.a. SA-7 Grail 9K34 Strela-3/SA-14 "Gremlin"/SA-N-8 9K38 Igla/SA-16 "Gimlet"/SA-18 "Grouse"/SA-24 "Grinch"/SA-N-10/SA-N-14 9K333 Verba 9K35 Strela-10/SA-13 "Gopher" 9K37 Buk/SA-11 "Gadfly"/SA-17 "Grizzly"/SA-N-7/SA-N-12 Pantsir-S1/SA-22 "Greyhound" (wheeled or tracked gun-missile system including SA-22) 9K330 Tor/SA-15 "Gauntlet"/SA-N-9 42S6 Morfey S-25 Berkut/SA-1 "Guild" S-75 Dvina/SA-2 "Guideline"/SA-N-2 S-125 Neva/Pechora/SA-3 "Goa"/SA-N-1 S-200 Angara/Vega/Dubna/SA-5 "Gammon" S-300/SA-10 "Grumble"/SA-12 "Gladiator/Giant"/SA-20 "Gargoyle"/SA-N-6 S-350 (50R6) Vityaz S-400 Triumf/SA-21 "Growler" S-500 55R6M "Triumfator-M." M-11 Shtorm/SA-N-3 "Goblet" Sosna-R


KSR-2 KSR-5 KS-1 K-10S KH-11 Kh-15 Kh-20 Kh-22 Kh-23 Kh-25 Kh-26 Kh-28 Kh-29 Kh-31 Kh-35 Kh-38 Kh-41 Kh-55 Kh-58 Kh-59 Kh-80 Kh-90 9M114V


K-5 R-3 R-4 R-8 R-23 R-27 R-33 R-37 R-38 R-40 R-60 R-73 R-77 R-172


3M6 9K111 9K112 9K114 9K115 9K115-2 9K121 9M14 9M15 9M17 9M113 9M117 9M119 9M120 9M123 9M133 Kornet-D Hermes

Unguided rockets


RP-1 RP-5 RP-6 RP-9 RP-15 RP-21 RS-82 RS-132

Rocket artillery

BM-14 BM-21 BM-24 BM-25 BM-27 BM-30 TOS-1


RD-8 RD-9 R-11 R-13 R-15 R-25 R-29 RD-33 RD-45 RD-58 RD-107 RD-117 RD-0120 RD-0124 RD-0146 RD-170 RD