characteristics of rocket R-1
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.
Off-loading of rocket R-1 from a truck
(45 148 bytes)
(38 775 bytes)
(38 775 bytes)
Completion of rocket R-1
(68 196 bytes)
Rocket R-1 lift-off
(93 516 bytes)
after rocket launch
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
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