Encyclopedia Astronautica

Credit: © Mark Wade
R-7 aft end
Credit: © Mark Wade
Glushko Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 971 kN. R-7 8K71, Vostok 8K72, Vostok 8K72K strap-ons. Isp=306s. First flight 1957. Used four combustion chambers fed by single turbopump to circumvent combustion instability problems with larger chambers 1950's.

Glushko decided that an ICBM using German ideas was impossible. He had developed the RD-110 with a cylindrical burner but it suffered combustion instabilities, the engine equivalent of flutter when breaking the sound barrier. Glushko returned to his experiments from the 30's with cylindrical burners - combining his ideas with German ones. He used slots for cooling the nozzle for example. The RD-106 was the result and it made the R-7 possible. The R-7 rocket had an RD-107 on the first stage strap-ons and an RD-108 on the second stage core. After 120 seconds the strap-on rockets fell off into the desert and 2.5 minutes later the second stage separated. The RD-108 had one turbo-pump but 4 combustion chambers. It made it possible to quickly prove the design of a single engine and then move to four. A single gas generator used the decomposition of H2O2. The hot gas spun up the turbine and was vented. The turbines turned the kerosene and oxygen turbo-pumps. Kerosene was used to cool the engine nozzles and then passed to the mixing head. Igniters were used because the propellants weren't hypergolic. Vernier rockets were used for flight control. It took one week and 300 people to prepare a Soyuz rocket for launch. A unique feature you wouldn't find today was a rotating handle on the engine where a soldier and a supervisor would prevent the pump seals freezing during the start of fuelling. It was automatically closed later. There were 9 modifications to the rocket for Progress, Soyuz, etc. The R-7 became the the mass production record holder with more than 1,700 flights of its family. This means 1,700 x 5 engines x 4 chambers per engine, plus ground test models. OKB Glushko. Used on 8K71 R-7 Stage 0. Developed in 1954-1955. Propellants kerosene (RG-1) / Lox. Diameter is per chamber.

Application: R-7 8K71-0, Vostok 8K72-0, Vostok 8K72K-0.


Chambers: 4. Thrust (sl): 793.200 kN (178,318 lbf). Thrust (sl): 80,884 kgf. Engine: 1,155 kg (2,546 lb). Chamber Pressure: 58.50 bar. Thrust to Weight Ratio: 85.71.

AKA: 8D74.
Unfuelled mass: 1,155 kg (2,546 lb).
Height: 2.86 m (9.38 ft).
Diameter: 0.67 m (2.19 ft).
Thrust: 971.00 kN (218,289 lbf).
Specific impulse: 306 s.
Specific impulse sea level: 250 s.
Burn time: 140 s.
Number: 140 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
Associated Launch Vehicles
  • R-7 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The world's first ICBM and first orbital launch vehicle. The 8K71 version was never actually put into military service, being succeeded by the R-7A 8K74. More...
  • R-7 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. The world's first ICBM and first orbital launch vehicle. The 8K71 version was never actually put into military service, being succeeded by the R-7A 8K74. More...
  • Vostok 8K72 Russian orbital launch vehicle. 8K72 Luna launch vehicle, third stage modified with larger forward cylindrical section to accomodate Vostok-sized spacecraft. Used only for launch of first few prototype Vostoks. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Glushko Russian manufacturer of rocket engines and rockets. Glushko Design Bureau, Russia. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

Associated Stages
  • R-7 8K71-0 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 43,100/3,500 kg. Thrust 970.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 306 seconds. More...
  • Vostok 8K72-0 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 43,300/3,710 kg. Thrust 970.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 312 seconds. More...

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use