Encyclopedia Astronautica
Molniya 8K78/E6


Russian orbital launch vehicle. Molniya adaptation for launch of E-6 lunar probes.

Failures: 3. First Fail Date: 1963-01-04. Last Fail Date: 1965-03-12.

Status: Retired 1965.
Gross mass: 306,200 kg (675,000 lb).
Height: 44.40 m (145.60 ft).
Diameter: 2.95 m (9.67 ft).
Thrust: 4,054.00 kN (911,375 lbf).
Apogee: 400,000 km (240,000 mi).
First Launch: 1963.01.04.
Last Launch: 1965.03.12.
Number: 4 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Spacecraft
  • Luna E-6 Russian lunar lander. 12 launches, 1963.01.04 (Sputnik 25) to 1966.01.31 (Luna 9). E-6 probes were designed by Korolev's OKB-1 with the objective of making the first soft landing on the moon and beaming back pictures of the surface. More...

See also
  • R-7 The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2011. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Korolev Russian manufacturer of rockets, spacecraft, and rocket engines. Korolev Design Bureau, Kaliningrad, Russia. More...

Associated Programs
  • Luna Soviet lunar probe series. Lunas were the first manmade objects to attain of escape velocity; to impact on the moon; to photograph the far side of the moon; to soft land on the moon; to retrieve and return lunar surface samples to the earth; and to deploy a lunar rover on the moon's surface. More...

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

Associated Stages
  • Molniya 8K78-3 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 5,100/1,080 kg. Thrust 65.41 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 340 seconds. Stage designed as fourth stage to take R-7 launched payloads into deep space. Adapted from the Luna / Vostok third stage, but with restart capability. The 700 kg BOZ ullage motors and stabilisation platform jettisoned prior to main stage burn. Original version. More...
  • Molniya 8K78-0 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 43,400/3,800 kg. Thrust 995.30 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 314 seconds. More...
  • Molniya 8K78-1 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 100,500/6,800 kg. Thrust 941.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 315 seconds. More...
  • Molniya 8K78-2 Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 24,300/2,000 kg. Thrust 294.00 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 330 seconds. More...

Molniya 8K78/E6 Chronology


1963 January 4 - . 08:49 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 T103-09. FAILURE: The escape stage's BOZ unit failed to operate due to failure of a DC transformer of the power system. The stage with payload remained in Earth orbit.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Sputnik 25 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 1. Nation: USSR. Agency: Korolev. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-01-05 . USAF Sat Cat: 522 . COSPAR: 1963-001B. Apogee: 189 km (117 mi). Perigee: 165 km (102 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 88.00 min.

1963 February 3 - . 09:29 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 G103-10. FAILURE: Upper stage gyro platform failure.. Failed Stage: G.
  • E-6 s/n 2 failure. - . Payload: E-6 s/n 2. Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-02-03 . COSPAR: F630203A. Summary: Apparent causes were instabilities in the torque sensor circuit and the pitch-free floating gyro device. The upper stages and payload broke up on re-entry into the atmosphere over the Pacific..

1963 April 2 - . 08:16 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 G103-11.
  • Luna 4 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 3. Mass: 1,422 kg (3,134 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: RVSN. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1963-04-03 . USAF Sat Cat: 563 . COSPAR: 1963-008A. Apogee: 182 km (113 mi). Perigee: 167 km (103 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 87.98 min. Luna 4 was the second attempted Soviet unmanned lunar soft lander probe. The spacecraft, rather than being sent on a straight trajectory toward the Moon, was placed first in an earth parking orbit. The rocket stage then reignited and put the spaccecraft on a translunar trajectory. Failure of Luna 4 to make a required midcourse correction resulted in it missing the Moon by 8336.2 km on April 6, at 4:26 a.m. Moscow time. It thereafter entered a barycentric Earth orbit. The Soviet news agency, Tass, reported that data had been received from the spacecraft throughout its flight and that radio communication would continue for a few more days.

1965 March 12 - . 09:30 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC1. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Molniya 8K78/E6. LV Configuration: Molniya 8K78/E6 R103-25. FAILURE: The escape stage Block L's engine failed to ignite due to failure of a transformer in the power supply of the control system.. Failed Stage: 3.
  • Cosmos 60 - . Payload: E-6 s/n 9. Mass: 6,530 kg (14,390 lb). Nation: USSR. Agency: MOM. Program: Luna. Class: Moon. Type: Lunar probe. Spacecraft: Luna E-6. Decay Date: 1965-03-17 . USAF Sat Cat: 1246 . COSPAR: 1965-018A. Apogee: 248 km (154 mi). Perigee: 195 km (121 mi). Inclination: 64.7000 deg. Period: 88.90 min. Summary: The stage with the payload remained in Earth orbit as Kosmos-60..

Home - Browse - Contact
© / Conditions for Use