Rocket R-1


(33 563 bytes)
Principal characteristics of rocket R-1

Maximum firing range, km

Launch mass, kg

Warhead mass, kg

Propellants mass
(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.

Off-loading of rocket R-1 from a truck
(45 148 bytes)

Rocket moving
(38 775 bytes)

Rocket transportation
(38 775 bytes)

Completion of rocket R-1
pre-launch processing
(68 196 bytes)

Rocket R-1 lift-off
(93 516 bytes)

Launch site
after rocket launch
(32 581bytes)
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.







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