|Molniya LV - |
Credit: © Mark Wade. 1,326 bytes. 74 x 326 pixels.
On 15 January 1960 Korolev signed the order for development of a four stage rocket based on the R-7. The draft project was completed on 10 May 1960. The original design was intended for launch of unmanned probes toward Mars, but it had universal uses.
The first two stages - the four strap-ons of the first stage and the second core stage - were based on the R-7 ICBM, but reinforced for the heavier upper stages.
On aerodynamic grounds the new third stage had to follow closely the diameter of the Vostok third stage; it could only be increased from the Vostok's 2.58 m to 2.66 m diameter. The new third stage used engines developed for the R-9 ICBM. Although first developed for the Monlniya 4-stage booster, it later would be used with modifications in the three-stage Soyuz launch vehicle.
The fourth stage would have to restart in weightless conditions in an earth parking orbit, presenting a number of problems. It needed to be equipped with an orientation and stabilisation system (SOIS) and a jettisonable engine section (BOZ). The BOZ had to start in weightlessness provide a low thrust to settle the propellants in the main stage so that the main engine could ignite. The stage was based on the existing Vostok third stage, with two toroidal tanks of 600 mm cross section, and a single S1-5400 Lox/kerosene engine.
Launches: 25. Failures: 15. Success Rate: 40.00% pct. First Launch Date: 10 October 1960. Last Launch Date: 30 June 1970. Payload: 900 kg. to a: interplanetary trajectory. Liftoff Thrust: 407,879 kgf. Total Mass: 303,500 kg. Core Diameter: 3.0 m. Total Length: 40.0 m. Flyaway Unit Cost $: 39.00 million. in 1985 unit dollars.
Korolev signed the order for development of a four stage rocket based on the R-7.
The original design was intended for launch of unmanned probes toward Mars, but it had universal uses.
Central Committee and Council of Soviet Ministers Decree 587-238 'On the Realisation of the Plan to Master Cosmic Space in 1960 and the First Half of 1961 -creation of a four-stage launcher for interplanetary missions and schedule for the Korabl-Sputniks'
This was the Soviet Union's first attempt at a planetary probe. Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The possible cause lay in resonance vibrations of upper stages during Stage 2 burning, which led to break of contact in the command potentiometer of the gyrohorizon. As a result a pitch control malfunctioned and the launcher began to veer off the desired ascent profile. On exceeding 7 degrees of veering in pitch, the control system failed. The upper stage with the payload reached an altitude of 120 km before burning up on re-entry into the atmosphere above East Siberia.
|R-7 aft end|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 47,694 bytes. 421 x 583 pixels.
The escape stage entered parking orbit but the main engine cut off just 0.8 s after ignition due to cavitation in the oxidiser pump and pump failure.. The payload attached together with escape stage remained in Earth orbit.
Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. It was launched first into a 229 x 282 km parking orbit, then boosted toward Venus by the restartable Molniya upper stage. On 19 February, 7 days after launch, at a distance of about two million km from Earth, contact with the spacecraft was lost. On May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. This failure resulted in only the following objectives being met: checking of methods of setting space objects on an interplanetary course; checking of extra-long-range communications with and control of the space station; more accurate calculation of the dimension of the solar system; a number of physical investigations in space.
Launched Venera 1 from low Earth orbit.
The motor burnt for only 45s of the planned 240s. The stage remained in Earth orbit.
|R-7 vs Proton - R-7 / Proton LVs Cutaway|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 10,191 bytes. 287 x 720 pixels.
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. The spacecraft broke into many pieces, some of which apparently remained in Earth orbit for a few days. This occurred during the Cuban missile crisis and was picked up by U.S. military radar installations, who originally feared it might by the start of a Soviet nuclear attack.
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Sixty-one radio transmissions were held in which a large amount of data was collected. On March 21, 1963, when the spacecraft was at a distance of 106 million km communications ceased, possibly due to a malfunction in the spacecraft orientation system. Mars 1 closest approach to Mars occurred on June 19, 1963 at a distance of approximately 193,000 km, after which the spacecraft entered a heliocentric orbit. Announced mission: Prolonged exploration of outer space during flight to the planet Mars; establishment of inter-planetary radio communications; photgraphing of the planet Mars and subsquent radio-transmission to Earth of the photographs of the surface of Mars thus obtained.
Mars probe intended to make a soft landing on Mars. Although the escape stage and payload reached orbit, the strong third stage vibrations shook a fuse loose from its mount in the main nozzle of the escape stage Block L's engine. The engine could not be ignited and remained in Earth orbit. It decayed about two months after insertion.
Credit: © Mark Wade. 12,874 bytes. 549 x 570 pixels.
Apparent causes were instabilities in the torque sensor circuit and the pitch-free floating gyro device. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere over the Pacific.
Luna 4 was the second attempted Soviet unmanned lunar soft lander probe. The spacecraft, rather than being sent on a straight trajectory toward the Moon, was placed first in an earth parking orbit. The rocket stage then reignited and put the spaccecraft on a translunar trajectory. Failure of Luna 4 to make a required midcourse correction resulted in it missing the Moon by 8336.2 km on April 6, at 4:26 a.m. Moscow time. It thereafter entered a barycentric Earth orbit. The Soviet news agency, Tass, reported that data had been received from the spacecraft throughout its flight and that radio communication would continue for a few more days.
The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit as Cosmos-51 and burnt up on re-entry.
Unsuccessful first attempt to launch Molniya communications satellite.
Successful launch of first Soviet communications satellite.
Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Zond 2 was launched from an earth parking orbit towards Mars to test space-borne systems and to carry out scientific investigations. Zond 2 carried six electric rocket engines of plasma type that served as actuators of the attitude control system. The communications system failed during April 1965. The spacecraft flew by Mars on August 6, 1965, at a distance of 1500 km.
The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60.
The upper stages fell apart on re-entry into the atmosphere..
First announced launch of Soviet communications satellite. Television programme transmission and long range two way multi channel telephone and telegraph communications. Orbital characteristics after correction of 2 May 1965.
Zond 3 was towards the moon and interplanetary space. The spacecraft was equipped with a TV system that provided automatic inflight film processing. On July 20, during lunar flyby, 25 pictures of very good quality were taken of the lunar farside from distances of 11,570 to 9960 km. The photos covered 19,000,000 km square of the lunar surface. Photo transmissions by facsimile were returned to earth from a distance of 2,200,000 km on July 29 and were retransmitted later from a distance of 31,500,000 km, thus proving the ability of the communications system. After the lunar flyby, Zond 3 continued space exploration in a heliocentric orbit. Those pictures showed clearly the heavily cratered nature of the surface. This mission dramatized the advances in space photography that the U.S.S.R. had made since its first far-side effort six years earlier.
The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service.
Lunar soft landing attempt. The Luna 7 spacecraft was intended to achieve a soft landing on the Moon. However, due to premature retrofire and cutoff of the retrorockets, the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms.
France - USSR communications link. Second communications satellite 'Molniya-1'. Television programme transmission and long-range, two-way multi-channel telephone, phototelegraph and telegraph communications.
Lunar soft landing attempt failed. Luna 8's objectives were to test a soft lunar landing system and scientific research. Weighing 1,552 kg (3,422 lbs), the spacecraft was following a trajectory close to the calculated one and the equipment was functioning normally. However, the retrofire was late, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface in the Sea of Storms. Tass reported that "the systems were functioning normally at all stages of the landing except the final touchdown." The mission did complete the experimental development of the star-orientation system and ground control of radio equipment, flight trajectory, and other instrumentation.