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.
Airglow research. Launched at 1754 local time. Reached 94.8 km.
The first Chrysler production qualification missile was fired from AMR at 1910 hours EST. The nose cone impacted in the pre-selected target area at a range of 1,302 nm. Miss distance was 3 nm over and 1 nm to the left of the target. The overshoot was caused by failure of the vernier engine to cut off high resistance of the squib firing circuit. Primary missions were successfully accomplished. References: 439 .
Fist flight test of Thor-Agena for KH program. References: 279 .
Little Joe 1-B (LJ-1B) was launched from Wallops Island with a rhesus monkey, 'Miss Sam,' aboard. Test objectives for this flight were the same as those for Little Joe 1 (LJ-1) in which the escape tower launched 31 minutes before the planned launch, and Little Joe 1-A (LJ-1A), wherein the dynamic buildup in the abort maneuver was too low. A physiological study of the primate, particularly in areas applying to the effects of the rapid onset of reverse acceleration during abort at maximum dynamic pressure, was also made. In addition, the Mercury helicopter recovery system was exercised. During the mission, all sequences operated as planned; the spacecraft attained a peak altitude of 9.3 statute miles, a range of 11.7 statute miles, and a maximum speed of 2,021.6 miles per hour. Thirty minutes from launch time, a Marine recovery helicopter deposited the spacecraft and its occupant at Wallops Station. 'Miss Sam' was in good condition, and all test objectives were successfully fulfilled. References: 483 .
Missile test failure. Missed aimpoint by 788 m. References: 439 .
The gun-launched rocket was shot at an elevation of 80 degrees and flew for 145 seconds. During its flight it rose to an altitude of 26 km and landed 11 km down range.
North American gave a presentation at MSC on the block change concept with emphasis on Block II CSM changes. These were defined as modifications necessary for compatibility with the LEM, structural changes to reduce weight or improve CSM center of gravity, and critical systems changes. (Block I spacecraft would carry no rendezvous and docking equipment and would be earth-orbital only. Block II spacecraft would be flight-ready vehicles with the final design configuration for the lunar missions.) References: 16 .
At the request of Maj. Gen. Samuel C. Phillips, Apollo Program Director, ASPO reexamined the performance requirements for spacecraft slated for launch with Saturn IBs. MSC currently assessed that the launch vehicle was able to put 16,102 kg (35,500 lbs) into a circular orbit 105 nm above the earth. Based on the spacecraft control weights, however, it appeared that the total injected weight of the modules would exceed this amount by some 395 kg (870 lbs). Additional Details: Requirements for Apollo spacecraft launched by Saturn IB assessed. References: 16 .
Northrop-Ventura verified the strength of the dual drogue parachutes in a drop test at El Centro, Calif. This was also the first airborne test of the new mortar by which the drogues were deployed and of the new pilot parachute risers, made of steel cables. All planned objectives were met. Additional Details: Apollo dual drogue parachutes in drop test. References: 16 .
Unmanned resupply vessel to Mir. Docked on 23 Jan 1988 00:09:09 GMT. Undocked on 4 Mar 1988 03:40:09 GMT. Destroyed in reentry on 4 Mar 1988 07:29:30 GMT. Total free-flight time 2.21 days. Total docked time 41.15 days. References: 1 , 2 , 6 , 275 .
Part of the US Air Force Defense Satellite Communications System. To be stationed in geosynchronous orbit over the Pacific Ocean.