Molniya (rocket)

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Colour drawing of the Russian (former Soviet) Molniya-M carrier rocket

The Molniya (Russian: Молния, meaning "lightning"), GRAU Index 8K78, was a modification of the well-known R-7 Semyorka rocket and had four stages.

The 8K78 resulted from a crash program by the Korolev Bureau to develop a booster for launching planetary probes. A larger third stage was added along with a fourth stage (Blok L) that was designed to fire in-orbit to send the payload out of LEO. The basic R-7 core was also structurally strengthened and given more powerful engines. A rushed development produced multiple malfunctions of the upper stages, which led to its being replaced by the improved Molniya-M in 1964, but there were enough 8K78s left to continue flying them into 1967. [1][2][3][4]

Molniya (E6) was a minor revision adapted for launch of some Luna series space probes.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-1 Archived 2008-05-16 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya 8K78M
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-2 Archived 2012-06-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ The Soyuz Launch Vehicle: The Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph By Christian Lardier, Stefan Barensky, page 156