On the 45th anniversary of the first launch of Soviet R-7 intercontinental ballistic missile

The R-7, the first Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile developed under the supervision of Sergei Korolyov, was successfully launched on August 21st, 1957.

The programme to develop the R-7 was one of the largest the Soviet Union ever ventured to carry out. Its success triggered a rapid development of various areas of science and technology, including a brand-new one - missile building. /It was the R-7 that delivered to the orbit the Earth's first artificial satellite on October 4th, 1957. On April 12th, 1961, the next modification of the missile entered the orbit with the Earth's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board./ The term of the missile's development is striking. Korolyov first reported the results of a research programme to study the prospects of intercontinental weapons on December 1951. In November 1954, the Soviet government approved a project of such armaments, while the building of missiles was launched in December 1955.

The missile's flight tests began in May 1957. On August 21st, 1957, "item #8K718" /this code stood for the missile in all technical documentation and relevant regulations issued by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) and the Soviet cabinet/ was launched from the Baikonur launch site. The missile successfully passed the active stage of the trajectory and its post-boost vehicle subsequently landed in a specified sector on Kamchatka. That was the fourth and the first successful launch of the missile. On August 27th, 1957, the whole world learned about this extremely important event.

The R-7 missile was a highly reliable and simultaneously easy-to-adjust design. Over the 45 years, which have passed since its first launch, there have been developed more than 17 modifications. This missile was a prototype of the Sputnik rocket, the first Soviet space booster, and subsequently of the Vostok, Molniya, and Soyuz boosters.

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