R-7 Semyorka

The R-7 Semyorka (Russian: Р-7 Семёрка), officially the GRAU index 8K71, 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 unknown until its launch (later it would get the NATO reporting name SS-6 Sapwood). 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.

A 2-view drawing of the R-7 Semyorka (NATO code-name SS-6 Sapwood)
TypeBallistic missile
Place of originSoviet Union
Service history
In service9 February 1959 – 1968
Used byStrategic Missile Troops
WarsCold War
Production history
DesignerSergei Korolev
DesignedFrom 1953
VariantsSee Variants
Mass280 metric tons (280 long tons; 310 short tons)
Height37 m
Diameter10.3 m (34 ft)

Effective firing range8,000–8,800 km (5,000–5,500 mi)
WarheadA single KB-11-derived, 5,300–5,500 kg (11,700–12,100 lb), 7.27 m (23.9 ft) diameter, 3 to 5 Mt, thermonuclear warhead

  • 1st stage: 4x jettisonable four-chamber RD-107 booster engines each with 2x vernier rocket engines plus 1x four-chamber RD-108 core engine with 4x vernier rocket engines.
  • 2nd stage: 1x four-chamber RD-108 core engine with 4x vernier rocket engines.

  • RD-107 4x 907.4 kN (203,992 lbf)
  • RD-108 1x 907.4 kN (203,992 lbf)
  • Vernier 12x 38.259 kN (8,601 lbf)
12x vernier thrusters arranged around the booster clusters and the core engines
Accuracy2.5–5.0 kilometers (max. deviation 10 kilometers)

The widely used nickname for the R-7 launcher, "Semyorka", means "digit 7" in Russian.

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