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Molniya 8K78
Part of R-7 Family
Molniya LV
Molniya LV
Russian orbital launch vehicle. Four stage derivative of the R-7 ICBM developed on a crash-program basis in 1960 for Soviet lunar and planetary deep space probe missions. The third stage found later use in the Voskhod and Soyuz launchers. By the 1970's mature versions of the launch vehicle were used almost entirely for launch of Molniya communications satellites and Oko missile early warning spacecraft into elliptical, 12-hour earth orbits.

AKA: 8K74; 8K78; A-2-e; Molniya; R-7A; SL-6. Status: Retired 1967. First Launch: 1960-10-10. Last Launch: 1967-10-22. Number: 40 . Payload: 900 kg (1,980 lb). Thrust: 3,999.93 kN (899,220 lbf). Gross mass: 303,500 kg (669,100 lb). Height: 40.00 m (131.00 ft). Diameter: 2.99 m (9.80 ft).

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. Therefore 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 four-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 stabilization 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.

Payload: 900 kg (1,980 lb) to a trans-Mars trajectory. Flyaway Unit Cost 1985$: 39.000 million.

Stage Data - Molniya 8K78

  • Stage 0. 4 x Molniya 8K78-0. Gross Mass: 43,400 kg (95,600 lb). Empty Mass: 3,800 kg (8,300 lb). Thrust (vac): 995.300 kN (223,752 lbf). Isp: 314 sec. Burn time: 119 sec. Isp(sl): 257 sec. Diameter: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Span: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Length: 19.00 m (62.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-107-8D74K. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 1. 1 x Molniya 8K78-1. Gross Mass: 100,500 kg (221,500 lb). Empty Mass: 6,800 kg (14,900 lb). Thrust (vac): 941.000 kN (211,545 lbf). Isp: 315 sec. Burn time: 301 sec. Isp(sl): 248 sec. Diameter: 2.99 m (9.80 ft). Span: 2.60 m (8.50 ft). Length: 28.00 m (91.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-108-8D75K. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 2. 1 x Molniya 8K78-2. Gross Mass: 24,300 kg (53,500 lb). Empty Mass: 2,000 kg (4,400 lb). Thrust (vac): 294.000 kN (66,093 lbf). Isp: 330 sec. Burn time: 200 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.56 m (8.39 ft). Span: 2.56 m (8.39 ft). Length: 2.84 m (9.31 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: RD-0108. Status: Out of Production.
  • Stage 3. 1 x Molniya 8K78-3. Gross Mass: 5,100 kg (11,200 lb). Empty Mass: 1,080 kg (2,380 lb). Thrust (vac): 65.410 kN (14,705 lbf). Isp: 340 sec. Burn time: 192 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.56 m (8.39 ft). Span: 2.56 m (8.39 ft). Length: 2.84 m (9.31 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: S1.5400. Status: Out of Production.

Family: orbital launch vehicle. Country: Russia. Engines: RD-0108, RD-107-8D74K, RD-108-8D75K. Spacecraft: Vostok, Mars 1M, Venera 1VA, Mars 2MV-1, Mars 2MV-2, Mars 2MV-4, Mars 2MV-3, Luna E-6, Venera 3MV-1A, Venera 3MV-1, Molniya-1, Mars 3MV-4A, Venera 3MV-4, Venera 3MV-3, Molniya-1T. Projects: Luna, Mars, Molniya, Venera. Launch Sites: Baikonur, Baikonur LC1, Baikonur LC31. Stages: Molniya 8K78-2, R-7A 8K74-1, Vostok 8A92-0, Molniya 8K78M-3. Agency: Korolev bureau.


Photo Gallery

Molniya LVMolniya LV
Credit: © Mark Wade


R-7 aft endR-7 aft end
Credit: © Mark Wade


R-7 vs ProtonR-7 vs Proton
R-7 / Proton LVs Cutaway
Credit: © Mark Wade


R-7 CutawaysR-7 Cutaways
Credit: © Mark Wade



1960 January 15 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 8K78 design begins - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Korolev signed the order for development of a four stage rocket based on the R-7..

1960 May 10 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 8K78 draft project completed - . Nation: Russia. The original design was intended for launch of unmanned probes toward Mars, but it had universal uses..

1960 June 4 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya launch vehicle and initial Vostok flights approved. - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: Vostok. Spacecraft: Vostok. 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'.

1960 October 10 - . 14:27 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+300.9 sec, the launcher went out of control and the destruct command was given at T+324.2 sec - the engine of Stage 3 cut off after 13.32 s of burning.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 1 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 1. Mass: 640 kg (1,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-10 .

    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.


1960 October 14 - . 13:51 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+290 sec Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed to ignite because a LOX leak froze kerosene in the fuel inlet to the pump on the launch pad due to a faulty LOX valve seal.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Mars probe 1M s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: 1M s/n 2. Mass: 640 kg (1,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Mars 1M. Decay Date: 1960-10-14 . Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. This was the Soviet Union's second attempt at a planetary probe. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere..

1961 January 18 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Venera preparations - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-2.

    The VVS contingent arrives at Tyuratam at 23:45 aboard an Il-14 for the Venera launch. Chertok is in charge of launch preparations. Due to various radio system problems, there can be no launch until 26 January. The death of Nedelin and the others still hangs over the cosmodrome.


1961 February 1 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Venera rolled out to pad - . Nation: Russia. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-2. The booster is 5 to 7 m taller than the Vostok. One gyroscope has to be replaced on the pad. Fuelling begins at 23:30. At 02:00 the launch is scrubbed due to continuing gyro problems. Next attempt is set for 4 February..

1961 February 4 - . 01:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+531 sec, the fourth vernier chamber of Stage 3's 8D715K engine exploded because the LOX cut-off valve had not closed as scheduled and LOX flowed into the hot chamber.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 7 - . Payload: 2MV-2 s/n 1. Mass: 6,483 kg (14,292 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Glushko, Korolev. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Venera 1VA. Decay Date: 1961-02-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 71 . COSPAR: 1961-Beta-1. Apogee: 318 km (197 mi). Perigee: 212 km (131 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 89.80 min.

    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.

    The booster launched into a beautiful clear sky, and it could be followed by the naked eye for four minutes after launch. The third stage reached earth parking orbit, but the fourth stage didn't ignite. It was at first believed a radio antenna did not deploy from the interior of the stage, and it did not receive the ignition commands. Therefore the Soviet Union has successfully orbited a record eight-tonne 'Big Zero' into orbit. The State Commission meets two hours after the launch, and argues whether to make the launch public or not, and how to announce it. Glushko proposes the following language for a public announcement: 'with the objective of developing larger spacecraft, a payload was successfully orbited which provided on the first revolution the necessary telemetry'. Korolev and the others want to minimize any statement, to prevent speculation that it was a reconnaissance satellite or a failed manned launch. Kamanin's conclusion - the rocket didn't reach Venus, but it did demonstrated a new rocket that could deliver an 8 tonne thermonuclear warhead anywhere on the planet. The commission heads back to Moscow.


1961 February 12 - . 00:34 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Venera 1 - . Payload: 1VA s/n 2, Venera 1 (Sputnik 8, AMS). Mass: 644 kg (1,419 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 1MV. Spacecraft: Venera 1VA. USAF Sat Cat: 80 . COSPAR: 1961-Gamma-1.

    Venera 1 was the first spacecraft to fly by Venus. The 6424 kg assembly 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. Additional Details: here....


1962 August 25 - . 02:18 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+60 min 50 sec one of the four solid motors of the escape stage's BOZ unit did not fire. The resulting asymmetric torque caused the stage to lose correct attitude and three seconds after ignition of the main engine S1.5400A1 it began to tumble.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 19 - . Payload: 2MV-1 s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Kuznetsova, Ponomaryova, Solovyova, Tereshkova, Yerkina. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera, Vostok. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-1. Decay Date: 1962-08-28 . USAF Sat Cat: 371 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Pi-1. Apogee: 252 km (156 mi). Perigee: 173 km (107 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 88.70 min.

    Attempt to launch a probe towards Mars. The launch went well, but the fourth stage motor burnt for only 45s of the planned 240s. The stage remained in Earth orbit. However Kamanin notes that it was good that the launch of the basic vehicle was a success - it gave the visiting female cosmonauts confidence in the rocket they will have to ride.


1962 September 1 - . 02:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+ 61 min 30 sec the fuel valve did not open.; the ignition command was blocked from going to the main engine of Stage 4.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 20 - . Payload: 2MV-1 s/n 2. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-1. Decay Date: 1962-09-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 381 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Tau-1. Apogee: 246 km (152 mi). Perigee: 185 km (114 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 88.80 min.

1962 September 12 - . 00:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+531 sec, the fourth vernier chamber of Stage 3's 8D715K engine exploded because the LOX cut-off valve had not closed as scheduled and LOX flowed into the hot chamber.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 21 - . Payload: 2MV-2 s/n 1. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-2. Decay Date: 1962-09-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 389 . COSPAR: 1962-A-Phi-1. Apogee: 218 km (135 mi). Perigee: 179 km (111 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 88.40 min. 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..

1962 October 24 - . 17:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: 16 seconds after ignition of Stage 4, Block L's S1.5400A1 engine exploded. A lubricant leak resulted in the jamming of a shaft in the turbopump gearbox and break up of the turbine.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 22 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 3. Mass: 6,500 kg (14,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. Decay Date: 1962-10-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 443 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Iota-1. Apogee: 260 km (160 mi). Perigee: 202 km (125 mi). Inclination: 65.1000 deg. Period: 89.10 min.

    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.


1962 November 1 - . 16:14 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Mars 1 - . Payload: 2MV-4 s/n 4 / Sputnik 23. Mass: 894 kg (1,970 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-4. USAF Sat Cat: 450 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Nu-3.

    Mars probe intended to photograph Mars on a flyby trajectory. Launched from Sputnik 23 in a 157 x 238 km, 65 degree parking orbit. 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.


1962 November 4 - . 15:35 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: After T+260 sec, a malfunction of the pressurization system of the central sustainer led to cavitation in the oxidizer pipeline and LOX pump, followed at T+292s by the fuel pump.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Sputnik 24 - . Payload: 2MV-3 s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 2MV. Spacecraft: Mars 2MV-3. Decay Date: 1962-11-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 451 . COSPAR: 1962-B-Xi-1. Apogee: 170 km (100 mi). Perigee: 170 km (100 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 87.90 min.

    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.


1963 January 4 - . 08:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: The escape stage's BOZ unit failed to operate due to failure of a DC transformer of the power system. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Sputnik 25 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 1. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-01-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 522 . COSPAR: 1963-001B. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). Perigee: 165 km (102 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 88.00 min.

1963 February 3 - . 09:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Upper stage gyro platform failure.. Failed Stage: G.
  • E-6 s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: E-6 s/n 2. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-02-03 . 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..

1963 April 2 - . 08:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Luna 4 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 3. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-04-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 563 . COSPAR: 1963-008A. Apogee: 182 km (113 mi). Perigee: 167 km (103 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 87.98 min.

    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.


1963 November 11 - . 06:23 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: During unpowered coast in parking orbit the escape stage Block L lost stable attitude. Engine ignition occurred in an incorrect direction.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 21 - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 1. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1963-11-14 . USAF Sat Cat: 687 . COSPAR: 1963-044A. Apogee: 231 km (143 mi). Perigee: 192 km (119 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.70 min. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit as Cosmos-51 and burnt up on re-entry..

1964 February 19 - . 05:47 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Second stage failure.. Failed Stage: 2.
  • 3MV-1A - . Payload: 3MV-1A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Mars. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1A. Decay Date: 1964-02-19 .

1964 March 21 - . 08:15 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Failure. Failed Stage: U.
  • Luna failure - . Payload: E-6 s/n 4. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1964-03-21 . The upper stages burnt on re-entry into the atmosphere..

1964 March 27 - . 03:24 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: During unpowered coast in parking orbit the escape stage Block L lost stable attitude due to a loss of the power circuit of the pneumatic valves of the attitude control and stabilization system.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 27 - . Payload: 3MV-1 s/n 3. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1. Decay Date: 1964-03-29 . USAF Sat Cat: 772 . COSPAR: 1964-014A. Apogee: 209 km (129 mi). Perigee: 197 km (122 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.50 min. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit as Cosmos-27..

1964 April 2 - . 02:42 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 1 - . Payload: 3MV-1 s/n 4. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-1. USAF Sat Cat: 785 . COSPAR: 1964-016D. Failed Venus probe. Solar Orbit (Heliocentric). Elaboration of a long range space system and conduct of scientific research..

1964 April 20 - . 08:08 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Power failure caused upper stage shutdown at T+340 seconds.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Luna failure - . Payload: E-6 s/n 5. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1964-04-20 . The upper stages broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere...

1964 June 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+104 sec the tank draining of core Block A failed due to jamming of the servo-motored throttle and break down of the motor's circuit The launcher was destroyed on impact downrange from the pad.. Failed Stage: 0.
  • Molniya-1 s/n 2 Failure - . Payload: Molniya-1 s/n 2. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Unsuccessful first attempt to launch Molniya communications satellite..

1964 August 22 - . 07:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Cosmos 41 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,500 kg (3,300 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 2004-04-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 869 . COSPAR: 1964-049D. Apogee: 39,169 km (24,338 mi). Perigee: 1,023 km (635 mi). Inclination: 68.4000 deg. Period: 714.50 min.

    Successful launch of first Soviet communications satellite. This is the second Molniya launch attempt. (the first was a launch failure). The failure of the antennae to deploy means the spacecraft can only be tested in a limited manner and cannot be used for the planned relay of television.


1964 November 30 - . 13:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 2 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 2. Mass: 890 kg (1,960 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: Korolev Design Bureau. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 945 . COSPAR: 1964-078C.

    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.


1965 March 12 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: The escape stage Block L's engine failed to ignite due to failure of a transformer in the power supply of the control system.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 60 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 9. Mass: 6,530 kg (14,390 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-03-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 1246 . COSPAR: 1965-018A. Apogee: 248 km (154 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60..

1965 April 10 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: Stage 3's engine 8D715K failed due to depressurization of the nitrogen pipeline of the LOX tank pressurization system of Block I.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Luna failure - stage 3 engine failure. - . Payload: E-6 s/n 8. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-04-10 . The upper stages fell apart on re-entry into the atmosphere...

1965 April 23 - . 01:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-01 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1979-08-16 . USAF Sat Cat: 1324 . COSPAR: 1965-030A. Apogee: 39,300 km (24,400 mi). Perigee: 538 km (334 mi). Inclination: 65.5000 deg. Period: 707.30 min. 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..

1965 May 9 - . 07:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Luna 5 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 10. Mass: 1,474 kg (3,249 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-05-12 . USAF Sat Cat: 1366 . COSPAR: 1965-036A. Apogee: 219 km (136 mi). Perigee: 159 km (98 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 88.27 min. Soft lunar landing attempt. The retrorocket system failed, and the spacecraft impacted the lunar surface at the Sea of Clouds. Western observers, among them England's Sir Bernard Lovell, correctly speculated that the craft's mission was a soft landing..

1965 June 8 - . 07:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Luna 6 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 7. Mass: 1,440 kg (3,170 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. USAF Sat Cat: 1393 . COSPAR: 1965-044A.

    Attempted unmanned lunar soft lander. Tass reported that all onboard equipment was functioning normally. Two days into the flight, however, the spacecraft's engine failed to shut down following a midcourse correction. This failure caused Luna 6 to miss its target by 159,612.8 Km.


1965 July 18 - . 14:38 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Zond 3 - . Payload: 3MV-4A s/n 3. Mass: 959 kg (2,114 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Mars. Class: Mars. Type: Mars probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Mars 3MV-4A. USAF Sat Cat: 1454 . COSPAR: 1965-056A.

    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.


1965 September 4 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • E-6 Launch Postponement - . Payload: E-6. Nation: Russia. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. The launch was delayed due to malfunction of the RKS system of the Stages 1/2's control system during pre-launch service..

1965 October 14 - . 19:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-02 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1967-03-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 1621 . COSPAR: 1965-080A. Apogee: 39,921 km (24,805 mi). Perigee: 487 km (302 mi). Inclination: 65.2000 deg. Period: 718.80 min. France - USSR communications link. Second communications satellite 'Molniya-1'. Television programme transmission and long-range, two-way multi-channel telephone, phototelegraph and telegraph communications..

1965 November 12 - . 05:02 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Venera 2 - . Payload: 3MV-4 s/n 4. Mass: 962 kg (2,120 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-4. USAF Sat Cat: 1730 . COSPAR: 1965-091A. Apogee: 315 km (195 mi). Perigee: 205 km (127 mi). Inclination: 51.8000 deg. Period: 89.71 min.

    Venera 2 was launched towards the planet Venus and carried a TV system and scientific instruments. On February 27, 1966, the spacecraft passed Venus at a distance of 24,000 km and entered a heliocentric orbit. The spacecraft system had ceased to operate before the planet was reached and returned no data.


1965 November 16 - . 04:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Venera 3 - . Payload: 3MV-3 s/n 1. Mass: 958 kg (2,112 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-3. Decay Date: 1966-03-01 . USAF Sat Cat: 1733 . COSPAR: 1965-092A.

    Venera 3 was launched towards the planet Venus. The mission was to land on the Venusian surface. The entry vehicle contained a radio communication system, scientific instruments, electrical power sources, and medallions bearing the coat of arms of the U.S.S.R. The station impacted Venus on March 1, 1966. However, the communications systems had failed before planetary data could be returned.


1965 November 23 - . 03:21 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: At T+528 sec, during the final thrust phase of the Block I's 8D715K engine, one of the combustion chambers blew up due to a tear in the fuel pipeline. This resulted in an abnormal separation of the upper stages.. Failed Stage: U.
  • Cosmos 96 - . Payload: 3MV-4 s/n 6. Mass: 960 kg (2,110 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Venera. Class: Venus. Type: Venus probe. Spacecraft Bus: 3MV. Spacecraft: Venera 3MV-4. Decay Date: 1965-12-09 . USAF Sat Cat: 1742 . COSPAR: 1965-094A. Apogee: 296 km (183 mi). Perigee: 222 km (137 mi). Inclination: 51.9000 deg. Period: 89.70 min. The escape stage Block L entered parking orbit tumbling and was not able to operate properly..

1965 December 3 - . 10:46 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Luna 8 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 12. Mass: 1,550 kg (3,410 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft Bus: Luna E-6. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-12-06 . USAF Sat Cat: 1810 . COSPAR: 1965-099A.

    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.


1966 March 27 - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78. FAILURE: The booster failed during ascent. The launcher and payload broke up on impact with the ground.. Failed Stage: 1.
  • Molniya-1 s/n 5 Failure - . Payload: Molniya-1 s/n 5. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: RVSN. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1.

1966 April 25 - . 07:12 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-03 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1973-06-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 2151 . COSPAR: 1966-035A. Apogee: 39,414 km (24,490 mi). Perigee: 546 km (339 mi). Inclination: 65.0000 deg. Period: 709.80 min. Also transmitted cloud cover images. Television programme transmission and long-range two-way multi-channel telephone, phototelegraph and telegraph communicaitons. .

1966 October 20 - . 07:55 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-04 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1968-09-11 . USAF Sat Cat: 2501 . COSPAR: 1966-092A. Apogee: 39,689 km (24,661 mi). Perigee: 500 km (310 mi). Inclination: 65.3000 deg. Period: 714.40 min. Television programme transmission and long-range two-way multi-channel telephone, phototelegraph and telegraph communicaitons..

1967 May 24 - . 22:50 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-05 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1971-11-26 . USAF Sat Cat: 2822 . COSPAR: 1967-052A. Apogee: 35,690 km (22,170 mi). Perigee: 90 km (55 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 627.00 min. Further development and experimental operation of long-range two-way television and telephone-telegraph radio-communication..

1967 August 31 - . 08:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. Launch Pad: LC1/LC31?. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Cosmos 174 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1968-12-30 . USAF Sat Cat: 2925 . COSPAR: 1967-082A. Apogee: 39,796 km (24,728 mi). Perigee: 430 km (260 mi). Inclination: 64.9000 deg. Period: 715.00 min. Probable commsat failure. Investigation of the upper atmosphere and outer space..

1967 October 3 - . 05:00 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. Launch Pad: LC1 or LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-06 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1969-03-04 . USAF Sat Cat: 2973 . COSPAR: 1967-095A. Apogee: 39,709 km (24,673 mi). Perigee: 508 km (315 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 714.90 min. Operation of a system of long range telephone-telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to the stations of the Orbita network..

1967 October 22 - . 08:40 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. Launch Pad: LC1 or LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78.
  • Molniya 1-07 - . Payload: Molniya-1. Mass: 1,600 kg (3,500 lb). Nation: Russia. Agency: MOM. Program: Molniya. Class: Communications. Type: Military communications satellite. Spacecraft Bus: KAUR-2. Spacecraft: Molniya-1. Decay Date: 1969-12-31 . USAF Sat Cat: 3008 . COSPAR: 1967-101A. Apogee: 39,709 km (24,673 mi). Perigee: 508 km (315 mi). Inclination: 64.8000 deg. Period: 714.90 min. Operation of a system of long range telephone-telegraph radiocommunication, and transmission of USSR Central Television programmes to the stations of the Orbita network..


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