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Molniya 8K78L
Part of R-7 Family
Russian orbital launch vehicle. The Molniya 8K78L was designed by Korolev's design bureau for launching a manned spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon and return to earth. To achieve this it would have used LOx/LH2 engines in the third and fourth stages. Preliminary design was completed on 8 July 1962, but such technology was years away in the Soviet Union and the project was not pursued further.

AKA: 8K78L;R-7M. Status: Study 1962. Payload: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb).

It was possibly revived in 1974 as the "R-7M", of unknown configuration but with a payload of 12 metric tons to a sun synchronous orbit, over double that of a standard Soyuz-U version.

Payload: 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) to a translunar trajectory.



Family: orbital launch vehicle. Country: Russia. Agency: Korolev bureau.

1962 July 8 - . LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78L.
  • Molniya 8K78L preliminary design completed - . Nation: Russia. Related Persons: Korolev.

    The Molniya 8K78L was designed by Korolev's design bureau for launching a manned spacecraft on a flyby of the Moon and return to earth. To achieve this it would have used Lox/LH2 engines in the third and fourth stages. Such technology was years away in the Soviet Union and the project was not pursued further.


1974 January 2 - . LV Family: N1, R-7, N11, Molniya 8K78L.
  • On the first two days of 1974, Mishin catalogues the issues and notes his supporters. - . Related Persons: Mishin, Ustinov, Afanasyev, Sergei, Almaz, Bezverby, . Spacecraft: Soyuz, MKBS, Mir, Soyuz 7K-S, LK.

    To do:
    1. Now, when considering our long-term program and the use of near-earth space (including the Moon) for different purposes, it is necessary to clearly define the sequence of its implementation.
    Especially decide - where to start? (Especially in the present situation).
    - It is necessary as soon as possible to show the rationality inherent in the program guidelines.
    Namely a space-based MOK.
    - Optimal location for OAA systems: based on MKBS (DOS) - or visited the MPM for routine maintenance or brought near-MKBS for the same purpose.
    - Reusable transport ship based on the 7M, and then a reusable transport system based on the work on the N-1 (but with a new engine system in stage 1).
    02.I.1973
    - Space problems solved by the OAA.
    - A great resource. (even after these events)
    Where to start?
    ? (7KS)
    1. DOS 5 (6?) + 7KT + 7KTT + 7KS-OR
    7KS-OR (evidently a reconnaissance version of the 7KS) - view as the embodiment of the most efficient use of the developed equipment (Zenit-Yantar)
    Negotiations with DI Kozlov (What does he want?)
    2. All that in the first only on the basis of the 7M, to create the MTK and MPM (talks with EV Shabarov)
    What will branch NII-4 handle?
    1. Operative follow-up exploration.
    2. Armed struggle in outer space.
    (03.I.1974)
    3. The defeat of the moving targets.
    4. Electronic countermeasures
    5. Use of stationary orbit.
    6. Use of of sun-synchronous orbits.
    Means:
    Filial of NII-4 GUKOS support (but only at the lower levels): 1. R-7M; 2. N-1?; 3. N-11
    Support in the MO MO for the N-1 - signed by Alekseev and Tolubko.
    Navy is indifferent to MOK (they do not understand the prospects)
    It is necessary to establish a relationship with the customer. He is interested in this (Attract DI Kozlov!)
    (4.I.1974)
    - Write a detailed letter on MOK to Afanasyev (copied to the Central Committee) (With a draft work order)
    - Draft a memo to the Central Committee for DF Ustinov. (Long-term planning)
    - Achieve color television for the Soyuz-M (NN Detinov - CC)
    - TsKBEM review of the level of work on special equipment in related organizations.
    - Write a memo about the possibilities of "A" in the operational intelligence. (VK Bezverby together with TsNIIMASH).
    - Deal with the radio channel on the "Yantar". Orders: VK Bezverby
    - The draft memo on the need of long-term integrated planning by the state. TSKBEM work on MOK - 1st to attempt its development. (Mishin Diaries 3-167)


1974 February 28 - . LV Family: N1, R-7, N11, Molniya 8K78L.
  • Mishin conducts more brainstorming on all issues. - . Related Persons: Mishin, Afanasyev, Sergei, . Spacecraft: , MKBS, Almaz, Mir.

    21. Form a unit in TsKBEM for special equipment (e.g. classified military) (for some complexes).
    22. Develop ideas on the feasibility of developing and creating two-stage rocket for launch into low earth orbit. (Comparison with 3-stage rocket, the advantages and disadvantages).
    23. Conduct a study on the feasibility of establishing MKTS based on two-stage rocket.
    24. Conduct research on performance 2-stage rocket for launch of payloads to earth orbit using different fuel components (Including solid propellant).
    25. Elaborate design for a surveillance module based on MKBS-1 derived from the N-110.
    26. Review a 2-stage N-1 for MKBS-II, a 3-stage for moving heavy SM modules to geostationary orbit and lunar orbits.
    Questions for SA Afanasyev
    1. His attitude to R-7M. Who is going to build it?
    2. His attitude towards the N-11. 2-stage for moving spacecraft to sun-synchronous orbit).
    3. On the sequence of launches of DOS and "Almaz".
    4. On the development work on MOK.
    About MOK - based on our promising developments. Basis MOK - space-based, and it should be checked already on the DOS-5 having two connecting nodes.
    5. On the shuttle on the basis of R-7M. (Mishin Diaries 3-176)


1974 April 1 - . LV Family: N1, R-7, N11, Molniya 8K78L.
  • Mishin records his final list of planned spacecraft. - . Related Persons: Mishin. Spacecraft: , MKBS.

    MOK-1 stages.
    Booster R-7M - Payload to sun-synchronous ~ 12 tons. It will deliver the following to the MKBS:
    1) MTKK Space Shuttle - manned version for delivery and return of the crew of astronauts on the MKBS.
    2) MTKK Space Shuttle - cargo version.
    3) SM Special Module - a non-returnable, autonomous and dockable with the MKBS (all-weather reconnaissance)
    4) MSK - the inter-satellite ship - automatic and manned. Launch vehicle - N-11 Payload = 18 tons (23 tons)
    MKBS-1 in sun-synchronous orbit.
    (Mishin Diaries 3-184)



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