|astronautix.com||Chronology - 1955 - Quarter 1|
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Council of Ministers selects Tyuratam for ICBM test site. The first 30 construction workers arrive at Tyuratam. The town founded at the rail staion is called Zarya (Dawn). The name will be changed to Leninsk in January 1958, but Zarya will remain the call sign of Soviet ground control. References: 89 .
First launching of a test model towed by a rocket vehicle with a flexible towline, by Langley Laboratory's PARD at Wallops Island, Va. References: 17 .
Airglow research. Launched at 1754 local time. Reached 94.8 km.
The first phase of flight trials were conducted from 21 January to July 1955. Of the 14 launches, 13 were successful. The second phase in August-November 1955 consisted of 10 successful launches at ranges of 1083 to 1190 km. This cleared the way for a final test series leading to the first rocket-delivered test of a Soviet atomic bomb.
The series of 5 launches began on 11 January 1956 with launch of a dummy warhead. The test with a live weapon came on 2 February 1956, with the successful launch of an 80 kiloton (300 kiloton according to some sources) warhead over a 1200 km range - from Kaputsin Yar Area 4N to a point near Priaralsk Karakum, 150 km north-east of the Aral Sea.
The R-5M was accepted by the military on 21 July 1956. Deployment of the missile began in 1956 in brigades of six launchers. Due to the nuclear warhead, specially trained engineering brigades had to be formed. The launch preparations had to be made meticulously and the final launch procedure was automated. Initially it took 30 hours to prepare the rocket for launch, but this was reduced to 5 to 6 hours after several years of service. The rocket had to be launched quickly after loading the uninsulated liquid oxygen tank. The gyroscopic guidance system was supplemented by radio control of the pitch angle of the missile in flight.
To store and install the nuclear warheads special units of the Ministry of Defence were formed. These originated in 1949 as the Sixth Directorate of the Ministry of Military Forces of the USSR. Deployment of the R-5M in 1956 caused the First Military Subdivision, consisting of two brigades, to be formed. The parent organisation was transformed according to a 23 November 1957 decree to the Twelfth General Directorate of the Ministry of Defence, charged with the development, trials, deployment, and security of nuclear warheads. From December 1959 this directorate's activities were limited specifically to safekeeping of the warheads of the RSVN rocket forces. In May 1963, as the number of ballistic missiles deployed increased, a specialised Subdirectorate for Nuclear Operations was formed within the Twelfth Directorate. As of 1965 the warheads were still stored separately form Soviet ballistic missiles. In 1966 the individual nuclear weapons units were made an integrated part of the operational rocket field units. In 1972, as the last open-pad missiles were retired, it was decided to mount all warheads on the silo-based missiles in instant readiness for launch. On 28 November 1974, its operational tasks finished, the 12th Directorate was placed under the Ministry of Defence. In its place the RSVN created a Sixth Directorate for security of nuclear weapons.
A total of 48 R-5M launchers were built, and deployed in brigades of six launchers each or regiments of four launchers each. The basic field unit was the division, each division of two batteries, each with a single launcher. The unit histories were as follows:
By the end of 1956 24 launchers were deployed, increasing to the final total of 48 by the end of 1957. Perhaps 200 missiles were built.
In 1953 and 1955 the Ministry of Defence studied field deployments of the R-1, R-2, and R-5 to East Germany, but nothing came of these studies. A 26 March 1955 decree of the Communist Party ordered deployment of the 72nd brigade to East Germany, and the 73th to Bulgaria, but these were not carried out. Finally a January 1959 a government decree ordered the 72nd brigade to deploy to East Germany for a test deployment.
In 10 May 1959 the first extended field deployment from a field location was undertaken during Army exercises at Simferopol. This was the first field deployment with nuclear weapons in Soviet history and verified the ability of the ballistic missile systems to operate in an integrated manner with the ground forces..
The R-5M was formally accepted into military service in 1960. The missile continued in service until 1968.
Three nuclear warheads were used with the R-5M, apparently all of similar 1350 kg mass: a 40 to 80 kt fission warhead; a 300 kiloton boosted fission or fusion warhead; and a 1 megaton fusion warhead. The R-5M had a propellant capacity 1930 kg greater than that of the basic R-5 - 10,010 kg alcohol, and 13,990 kg liquid oxygen.
Versions of the R-5M were used for technology tests. The R-5RD or M5RD was flown 10 times from 15 February to 18 August 1956 to test subsystems for the R-7 ICBM. From 24 November to 30 December 1956 R-5M's were launched as targets for the V-1000 anti-ballistic missile system.
Tests began with three experimental launches of the missile from a standard R-11 launch stand. This was followed by launches from a special stand simulating a ship's motion, developed by A P Abramov.
Re-entry nose-cone heat transfer experiment; photography; atmosphere research. Launched at 1455 local time. Reached 232 km.
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 23,400 m. References: 439 .
Ionosphere research. Launched at 1538 local time. Reached 76.1 km.
Solar spectrum research. Launched at 1125 local time. Reached 115 km.
USAF Chief of Staff, Nathan F. Twining, reported that ICBM's were receiving priority in the AF program because of known Soviet progress. Navaho, Snark, and Atlas programs accelerated. References: 17 , 278 .
Walt Disney's weekly television series aired the first of three programs related to spaceflight. 'Man in Space,' with Wernher Von Braun as technical adviser, drew an estimated audience of 42 million.
The second Walt Disney / Wernher Von Braun program presented the powerful image of a wheelike space station as a launching point for a mission to the Moon.
Night airglow research. Launched at 2300 local time. Reached 114.3 km.
Dr. Alan T. Waterman of the National Science Foundation presented President Dwight Eisenhower with a plan to implement the United States' portion of the International Geophysical Year satellite experiment. References: 483 .
Solar radiation research. Launched at 0947 local time. Reached 112.7 km.
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