Molniya (rocket)

(Redirected from Molniya-L)

The Molniya (Russian: Молния, meaning "lightning"), GRAU Index 8K78, was a modification of the well-known R-7 Semyorka rocket and had four stages.[1][2] The rocket was given the name Molniya due to the large number of Molniya communication satellites the rockets launched.[3]

Molniya (R-7 8K78)
Molniya-M carrier rocket
FunctionMedium launch vehicle
Country of originSoviet Union
Height43.44 m
Diameter10.3 m
Mass305,000 kg
Associated rockets
Launch history
Launch sitesBaikonur, Plesetsk
Total launches40
Partial failure(s)11

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.[4][5][6][7] The Molniya also carried early Venera probes to Venus.[2]

Molniya (E6) was a minor revision adapted for launch of some Luna series space probes.[2]


  • Length: 43.440 m
  • Diameter: 10.300 m
  • Launch mass: 305,000 kg
  • Strap-On Boosters: Blok-B,V,G,D / 4 × RD-107[2]
  • Stage 1: Blok-A / RD-108K[2]
  • Stage 2: Blok-I / RD-0108[2]
  • Stage 3: Blok-L / S1.5400[2]



Molniya rockets were launched 40 times:[2]

Molniya launches[2]
Date Version Serial No. LS Payload Result
10.10.1960 Molniya L1-4M Baikonur LC-1/5 Mars (1a) (1M #1) Failure
14.10.1960 Molniya L1-5M Baikonur LC-1/5 Mars (1b) (1M #2) Failure
04.02.1961 Molniya L1-7V Baikonur LC-1/5 Venera (1a) (1VA #1, Sputnik 7) Partial failure
12.02.1961 Molniya L1-6V Baikonur LC-1/5 Venera 1 (1VA #2, Sputnik 8) Success
25.08.1962 Molniya T103-12 Baikonur LC-1/5 Venera (2a) (2MV-1 #1, Sputnik 19) Partial failure
01.09.1962 Molniya T103-13 Baikonur LC-1/5 Venera (2b) (2MV-1 #2, Sputnik 20) Partial failure
12.09.1962 Molniya T103-14 Baikonur LC-1/5 Venera (2c) (2MV-2 #1, Sputnik 21) Partial failure
24.10.1962 Molniya T103-15 Baikonur LC-1/5 Mars (1c) (2MV-4 #1, Sputnik 22) Partial failure
01.11.1962 Molniya T103-16 Baikonur LC-1/5 Mars 1 (2MV-4 #2, Sputnik 23) Success
04.11.1962 Molniya T103-17 Baikonur LC-1/5 Mars (2a) (2MV-3 #1, Sputnik 24) Partial failure
04.01.1963 Molniya (E6) T103-09 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna (4c) (Ye-6 No.2, Sputnik 25) Partial failure
03.02.1963 Molniya (E6) G103-10 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna (4d) (Ye-6 No.3) Failure
02.04.1963 Molniya (E6) G103-11 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna 4 (Ye-6 No.4) Success
11.11.1963 Molniya G15000-017 Baikonur LC-1/5 Kosmos 21 (Zond (1a)) (3MV-1A #1) Partial failure
19.02.1964 Molniya (M) T15000-019 Baikonur LC-1/5 Zond (1b) (3MV-1A #2) Failure
21.03.1964 Molniya (E6) T15000-020 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna (5a) (Ye-6 No.6) Failure
27.03.1964 Molniya (M) T15000-022 Baikonur LC-1/5 Kosmos 27 (Zond (1c)) (3MV-1 #1) Partial failure
02.04.1964 Molniya (M) G15000-028 ? Baikonur LC-1/5 Zond 1 (3MV-1 #2) Success
20.04.1964 Molniya (E6) T15000-021 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna (5b) (Ye-6 No.5) Failure
04.06.1964 Molniya G15000-018 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 (1a) (Molniya-1 2L) Failure
22.08.1964 Molniya G15000-019 Baikonur LC-1/5 Kosmos 41 (Molniya-1 (1b)) (Molniya-1 1L) Success
30.11.1964 Molniya G15000-029 Baikonur LC-1/5 Zond 2 (3MV-4 #1) Success
12.03.1965 Molniya (E6) G15000-024 Baikonur LC-1/5 Kosmos 60 (Luna (5c)) (Ye-6 No.9) Partial failure
10.04.1965 Molniya (E6) U15000-022 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna (5d) (Ye-6 No.8) Failure
23.04.1965 Molniya U15000-035 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 1 (Molniya-1 3L) Success
09.05.1965 Molniya (M) U15000-024 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna 5 (Ye-6 No.10) Success
08.06.1965 Molniya (M) U15000-033 Baikonur LC-1/5 Luna 6 (Ye-6 No.7) Success
18.07.1965 Molniya U15000-032 Baikonur LC-1/5 Zond 3 (3MV-4 #2) Success
14.10.1965 Molniya U15000-034 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 2 (Molniya-1 4L) Success
12.11.1965 Molniya (M) U15000-042 Baikonur LC-31/6 Venera 2 (3MV-4 #3) Success
16.11.1965 Molniya (M) U15000-031 Baikonur LC-31/6 Venera 3 (3MV-3 #1) Success
23.11.1965 Molniya (M) U15000-030 Baikonur LC-31/6 Kosmos 96 (Venera (4a)) (3MV-4 #4) Partial failure
03.12.1965 Molniya U15000-048 Baikonur LC-31/6 Luna 8 (Ye-6 No.12) Success
27.03.1966 Molniya (M) U15000-040 Baikonur LC-31/6 Molniya-1 (3) (Molniya-1 5L) Failure
25.04.1966 Molniya (M) N15000-037 Baikonur LC-31/6 Molniya-1 3 (Molniya-1 6L) Success
20.10.1966 Molniya (M) N15000-040 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 4 (Molniya-1 7L) Success
24.05.1967 Molniya (M) N15000-041 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 5 (Molniya-1 8L) Success
31.08.1967 Molniya (M) N15000-081 Baikonur LC-1/5 Kosmos 174 (Molniya-1Yu 11L) Success
03.10.1967 Molniya (M) Ya15000-083 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 6 (Molniya-1 9L) Success
22.10.1967 Molniya (M) Ya15000-084 Baikonur LC-1/5 Molniya-1 7 (Molniya-1 12L) Success

See also



  1. ^ Harvey, Brian (5 July 2007). Russian Planetary Exploration: History, Development, Legacy and Prospects. Springer. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-387-46343-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Molniya (8K78)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  3. ^ Reichl, Eugen (2019). The Soviet Space Program - The Lunar Mission Years: 1959 to 1976. Schiffer Publishing Ltd. p. 32. ASIN 0764356755.
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-1 Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya 8K78M Archived 8 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-2 Archived 2 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Lardier, Christian; Barensky, Stefan (2013). The Soyuz Launch Vehicle: The Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph. New York: Springer. p. 156. doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-5459-5. ISBN 978-1-4614-5458-8.

"Molniya-M Carrier Rocket". РКЦ Прогресс. Retrieved 7 October 2014.