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Vostok and GR-1
Vostok and GR-1
Dynamic test models of Vostok, Soyuz and GR-1 ICBM
Credit: © Mark Wade
Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. Korolev's entry in the 'Global Rocket' competition, a missile that could place a nuclear warhead in orbit, where it could come in under or behind American anti-ballistic missile defenses, and be deorbited with little warning. Cancelled in 1964 in preference to Yangel's R-36-O.

AKA: 8K713;Scrag. Status: Cancelled 1964. Payload: 2,300 kg (5,000 lb). Thrust: 1,441.00 kN (323,949 lbf). Gross mass: 117,000 kg (257,000 lb). Height: 35.31 m (115.83 ft). Diameter: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Span: 2.85 m (9.35 ft).

The Global Rocket 1 (GR-1) requirement of 1961 called for a system to place a large 1,500 kg nuclear warhead equipped with a deorbit rocket stage into a low earth orbit of 150 km altitude. The warhead could approach the United States from any direction, below missile tracking radar, so little warning was available. Not only could such a missile hit any point on earth, but the enemy would also be uncertain when it would be deorbited onto target. The main disadvantage was lower accuracy of the warhead in comparison to an ICBM.

Korolev insisted on sticking to the liquid oxygen/kerosene propellants of his R-9 ICBM, despite the military's preference for the more toxic but storable propellants used by the other designers. In competition with Korolev's 8K713 design, Chelomei proposed his UR-200, while Yangel offered the R-36. Korolev considered the 8K713 a low risk project, using rocket elements already in development by his bureau:

  • First stage: a stretched version of the first stage of the planned R-9M missile with Kuznetsov NK-9 engines
  • Second stage: an adaptation of the Soyuz launch vehicle third stage
  • Third stage: a development of the Molniya launch vehicle's fourth stage with the S1-5400 engine.
  • Missile sized for launch from existing R-9 launch silos

Korolev unofficially started work on the missile on 15 March 1962 based on a verbal go-ahead by Khrushchev. The draft project for the GR-1 was completed in May 1962, and a mock-up had already been built and drawings released to the production shop by the time the official resolution was issued on 24 September 1962. Test flights were scheduled to start in the third quarter of 1963. The 8D726 third stage engine was proven in over 500 test firings of 230 preproduction engines. However continued development problems with Kuznetsov's NK-9 first stage engine resulted in delays. Kuznetsov could not provide Korolev with a flightworthy engine by the end of 1963. By that time two flight missiles were completed and LC-51 at Baikonur had been modified and comprehensively checked out for the beginning of fully automated launches. Reaction time for the operational missile was expected to be as little as 8 to 12 minutes. But during the course of 1964 Korolev's GR-1 and Chelomei's UR-200 were both cancelled in preference to Yangel's R-36.

Cancellation of the 8K713 in March 1964 had a significant and perhaps fatal impact on the project for Korolev's N1 moon rocket. Korolev had hoped that the GR-1 could be used to prove N1 engines concepts. This is remarked on in the editor's note to Korolev's letter to Khrushchev of 17 March 1964 ('Document written to N S Khrushchev on the path for development and experimental launch of the intercontinental global rocket GR-1'). Vetrov states:

S P Korolev also did not agree to cancellation of the GR-1, which had great potential for support of the future work of OKB-1. It was important to continue tests of the GR-1 in order to provide realistic tests for design ideas used in the rocket engines, that were analogous between the GR-1 and N-1. This was in accordance with an earlier communication between Korolev and Brezhnev (a letter written in 1959 at the beginning of the N1 program). Finally the only real test of the engines of OKB-276, developed according to aviation practices, came with the first flight tests of the N-1.
In a final bit of disinformation, the two completed 8K713 flight vehicles were paraded in Red Square aboard 8T139 R-16 trailers on 9 May 1965, and identified by the Soviets as the 'global rocket' FOBS launcher, and by NATO as an operational 'Scrag' ICBM. This confused Western defense analysts for many years to come. Korolev's detractors called the GR-1 the 'Moscow-to-Leningrad ICBM', a reference to the fact that the only place it had ever gone was to Leningrad for static dynamic tests.

Maximum range: 40,000 km (24,000 mi). Number Standard Warheads: 1. Warhead yield: 2,200 KT. Boost Propulsion: Lox/Kerosene. Cruise engine: RD-0110.

Stage Data - GR-1

  • Stage 1. 1 x GR-1 Stage 1. Gross Mass: 80,000 kg (176,000 lb). Empty Mass: 6,000 kg (13,200 lb). Thrust (vac): 1,676.000 kN (376,779 lbf). Isp: 325 sec. Burn time: 140 sec. Isp(sl): 280 sec. Diameter: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Span: 3.30 m (10.80 ft). Length: 18.50 m (60.60 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 4. Engine: NK-9. Other designations: 8K513 Blok A. Status: Development 1964. Comments: Payload 4,000 kg (2.2 MT nuclear warhead). Range 13,000 km or orbital. Accuracy (90%) 5 km in range and 3 km in dispersion. Masses estimated based on total vehicle mass of 117 metric tons.
  • Stage 2. 1 x GR-1 Stage 2. Gross Mass: 25,000 kg (55,000 lb). Empty Mass: 2,100 kg (4,600 lb). Thrust (vac): 441.000 kN (99,140 lbf). Isp: 340 sec. Burn time: 170 sec. Isp(sl): 240 sec. Diameter: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Span: 2.68 m (8.79 ft). Length: 9.15 m (30.01 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: NK-9V. Other designations: 8K513 Blok B. Status: Development 1964. Comments: Masses estimated based on total vehicle mass of 117 metric tons. Developed into Molniya/Soyuz second stage.
  • Stage 3. 1 x GR-1 Stage 3. Gross Mass: 8,500 kg (18,700 lb). Empty Mass: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb). Thrust (vac): 66.600 kN (14,972 lbf). Isp: 350 sec. Burn time: 380 sec. Isp(sl): 0.0000 sec. Diameter: 2.41 m (7.90 ft). Span: 2.41 m (7.90 ft). Length: 4.60 m (15.00 ft). Propellants: Lox/Kerosene. No Engines: 1. Engine: 8D726. Other designations: 8K513 Blok V. Status: Development 1964. Comments: Masses estimated based on total vehicle mass of 117 metric tons. This stage was a close cousin of that developed for the Molniya launch vehicle.


8K73 Russian ballistic missile. Korolev project. Probably designation for intercontinental ballistic missile variant of his GR-1 global rocket.

8K713 Article Number of intercontinental ballistic missile version of the GR-1 global rocket. Article number sometimes erroneously given as 8K73.

8K513 Russian anti-satellite missile. ASAT version. Little has emerged about Korolev's ASAT project, designed in competition with Chelomei's in 1961-1964.

11A513 Russian intercontinental ballistic missile. FOBS version. Warhead accuracy 5 km along orbital track, 3 km to either side. OKB-1 estimated warhead would be detected by Western defenses only two minutes before it detonated. The designation SS-10 was assigned by the DOD to the UR-200, but was commonly and erroneously applied to the GR-1, which was shown publicly after its cancellation.

Family: ICBM. Country: Russia. Engines: 8D726, NK-9. Agency: Korolev bureau. Bibliography: 283, 474, 475, 476, 89.
Photo Gallery

GR-1 missileGR-1 missile
Credit: © Mark Wade

1962 May - . Launch Vehicle: GR-1.
  • Draft project for the GR-1 was completed - . Nation: Russia.

1962 October 13 - . Launch Vehicle: GR-1.
  • GR-1 FOBS missile authorised. - . Nation: Russia. State Committee for Defence Technology (GKOT) Decree 640/06 'On start of work on the GR-1' was issued..

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