Maximum firing range, km
Launch mass, kg
Warhead mass, kg
(liquid oxygen, ethyl alcohol,
hydrogen peroxide, gas), kg
PU ground thrust, kgf
On April 14 1948 the Government Decree has been enacted on the development of the first rocket to be made of domestic
materials and derived from missile A-4 (FAU-2). The rocket was designated as R-1 including its ground support equipment.
Because of drawbacks of rocket A-4 revealed through its flight tests and almost entire lack of theoretical rationale of the
accepted engineering solutions the amount of work needed to be implemented to develop rocket R-1 was the same as usually
needed to develop a new structure. Materials technology problems appeared to be the most difficult. Materials engineers had
not to be restricted to formal selection of domestic materials. They were required to subject technical solutions accepted
by Germans to critical analysis. It was necessary to select 86 grades of steel, 56 grades of nonferrous metals, 159 nonmetallic
materials, etc. The rocket reliability should be also enhanced.
Despite of the formal possibility to set bounds to making a copy of rocket A-4, for production of the first series of
rocket R-1 designers were eager to incorporate new technological solutions so far as could be possible in a rather restricted
time frame. The aft and instrumentation compartments have been sufficiently modified to enhance their robustness, the
rocket flight design range has been increased from 250 to 270 km.
The first series R-1 engine was derived from engine A-4 without structural changes, except for replacement of the majority
of materials with domestic materials.
The A-4 rocket control system electrical circuitry was also used unchanged in the first series of rocket R-1, however
many instruments were changed in their design and performance.
In parallel, the Ground Support Equipment was being developed to launch the rocket from the preliminary prepared site (concrete-covered,
with a foundation plate laid to install a launch pad, shelters for movable diesel power plants and other equipment, as well
as ground cable routing).
During pre-launch processing of rocket R-1, the processing operations and equipment were little different from those
used to process rocket A-4. V. P. Barmin was a Chief Designer of the R-1 Ground Complex. The Specialized Design Office "Spetsmach"
further set up under his authority became a leading organization for ground complexes.
Rocket R-1 was first launched on September 17, 1948 under the authority of the State Commission headed by S. I. Vetoshkin
and technical management of S. P. Korolev.
During the first cycle of flight tests, 9 rockets R-1 were tested of which only one reached the target (October 10, 1948).
Causes of the accidents were mainly assigned to a low manufacturing quality of the rocket assemblies and systems, an insufficient
amount of checkout testing of units and instruments, non-maturity of certain systems.
To enhance reliability, many modifications were made to the control system flight instruments of the second series of
rockets. 20 rockets have been developed (10 adjustment and 10 qualification rockets) of which 17 rockets fulfilled their
task. Further experiments were needed to make the R-1 launches free of accidents.
On November 25, 1950 rocket R-1 and its Ground Support Equipment entered service.
Experimental rocket R-1A
To mature mass and operating characteristics of rocket R-1, its designers proposed to use an integral fuel tank and
a warhead separated from the rocket at the ascent phase completion. In this case, only the ascent phase appeared
to be rated for the launch vehicle and considerably more favorable regarding mechanical and thermal loads as compared
to the atmospheric portion of the descent phase of the flight trajectory. To verify experimentally those new ideas, mainly
to investigate peculiar features of the warhead separation process at the ascent phase completion, rocket R-1A has
been developed. However, since many organizations showed interest in using the new rocket for their purposes, the
experiment program fell far beyond the original plan.
Rocket R-1A became the first rocket to carry science equipment in recoverable containers to upper atmospheric layers (the
containers were located in a section of the rocket stabilizers). The solution to separate the warhead turned to be so good
that it was employed in all subsequent domestic rockets.
Geophysical rockets R-1B, R-1V, R-1D and R-1E
To measure physical parameters in the upper rarefied atmosphere, rocket R-1A was already provided with the instrumentation
system conventionally named "FIAN-1". The first geophysical experiments have been accommodated. The obtained data served
as a basis to work out a large geophysical research program pursuing interests of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR
and designers of modified rocket R-1 intended for that purpose (R-1B, R-1V, R-1D, R-1E).
All four launches of rocket R-1B that took place in July - August 1951 were vertical with one launch failed. The
rocket carried experimental animals accommodated in a special pressurized compartment to study their behavior in space
environment. On July 1951 dogs Dezik and Tsygan were the first to successfully fly on rocket R-1B.
Rocket-R1V differed from R-1B only in that the FIAN-1 equipment was replaced by a parachute system to recover the rocket
body. In total, two launches have been carried out in July - August 1951.
Unlike rockets R-1B and R-1V where experimental animals had to be returned in a pressurized compartment on a parachute,
on rocket R-1D each of the two dogs was catapulted in a space suit mounted on a special cradle provided with a parachute
system and a Life Support System. In addition, on rocket R-1D, instead of the FIAN-1 compartment, science hardware
was accommodated to study vertical distribution of ionization density in ionosphere and propagation of super long waves
in atmosphere and space. All three launches of rocket R-1D that took place in June-August 1951 were successful.
Through launches of rocket R-1E one more attempt has been made to solve the rocket body recovery problem. For this
purpose, three powder boosters were provided on the warhead to impart a separation velocity of about 12 m/s to it. However,
this was not sufficient enough. A new constructive option of the rocket body return system implied the use of a pyro
gun that had not only to activate pilot chutes, but also simultaneously release parachute packages containing main
cupolas. Totally, from January 1955 to April 1956, six launches have been carried out of which four were successful.