The R-7 (Russian: Р-7 "Семёрка") was a Soviet missile
developed during the Cold War, and the world's first intercontinental
ballistic missile. 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
1 Description 2 Development 3 Operational history 4 Variants 5 Operators 6 See also 7 References 8 External links
Description 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. The guidance system was inertial with radio control of the vernier thrusters. Development
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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 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.
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.
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.
The new missile's
The first strategic-missile unit became operational on 9 February 1959
at Plesetsk in north-west Russia. 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.
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
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
NATO reporting name for all versions of the R-7, variants identified
by suffix letter on the name portion (e.g. Sapwood-A).
First launch 15 May 1957, last launch 27 February 1961; 27 launch
attempts, 18 of which were successful.
First launch 23 December 1959, last launch 25 July 1967; 21 launch
attempts, 18 of which were successful.
Note: Much developed variants of the R-7 are still active:
Strategic Missile Troops
R-7 space launchers List of missiles List of Russian inventions
^ Wade, Mark. "R-7". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Retrieved 4 July
^ "Rocket R-7". S.P.Korolev RSC Energia.
^ Bora, Champak Jyoti.
The Kremlin's Nuclear Sword, Steven J. Zaloga, Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington and London, 2002.
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 family R-7 Semyorka
R-7 Semyorka R-7A Semyorka
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
Site 1/5 Site 31/6
Site 41/1 Site 16/2 Site 43/3 Site 43/4
Ensemble de Lancement Soyouz
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
Soyuz at the Guiana Space Centre
v t e
NATO designation for Russian and former
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)
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
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
Surface-to-surface missiles (complete list)
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
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-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
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
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
RP-1 RP-5 RP-6 RP-9 RP-15 RP-21 RS-82 RS-132
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