R-7 ROCKET FAMILY - FROM 1957 TO PRESENT DAY
R-7 ROCKET WITH SPUTNIK-2 PAYLOAD
The R-7 rocket was a modified version of the worlds first ICBM and like the Sputnik one and two launcher.
It was affectionately called "Semyorka," old number seven, by its creators and NATO designated it as the
SS-6. Over the years, the R-7 with improved upper stages has evolved into a family of launch vehicles
which are still in use today.  This graceful design utilizes
four conical strap on rockets which fall away
after burn out, decreasing the weight on the center stage which continues to thrust on toward orbit. In
the fifties it was conceived as a heavy lift ICBM to heave the early Soviet A-bombs over thousands of
miles but it quickly evolved into a satellite launcher, for which its liquid oxygen/kerosene design was
better suited.  
This robust rocket is assembled horizontally in the protection of the Great Assembly Hall.   
When ready for flight, it is transferred to the launch pad by rail car and erected using hydraulic jacks.  
Chief Designer Sergi Korolev clustered twenty smaller engines together for greater total thrust creating
the initial lead over the U.S. in payload to orbit weight.   To date, the upgraded version of the R-7, is the
only Russian rocket which has been "man rated" safe for human flight.  Needless to say, since 1957, the
R-7 and its derivatives have been fired more times then any other rocket.  Also,
the original Sputnik
launch Pad #1, modified over time, is still in use today for manned flights.
ONE MAIN ENGINE, OF A TOTAL OF FIVE, USED ON THE R-7
ROCKET.  FOUR RD-107 ENGINES FOR THE PARALLEL STAGES +
ONE RD-108 ENGINE FOR THE CENTER STAGE.
Aerial view of the Horizontal Assembly Building
R-7 / VOSTOK ON DISPLAY AT THE PARIS AIR SHOW 1967 - CLICK TO ENLARGE PAGE