Encyclopedia Astronautica
Molniya 8K78M-3


Lox/Kerosene propellant rocket stage. Loaded/empty mass 6,660/1,160 kg. Thrust 66.60 kN. Vacuum specific impulse 340 seconds. Standardized improved version for Molniya-type communications satellite payloads.

Status: Active.
Gross mass: 6,660 kg (14,680 lb).
Unfuelled mass: 1,160 kg (2,550 lb).
Height: 3.20 m (10.40 ft).
Diameter: 2.40 m (7.80 ft).
Span: 2.56 m (8.39 ft).
Thrust: 66.60 kN (14,972 lbf).
Specific impulse: 340 s.
Burn time: 250 s.
Number: 330 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
Associated Engines
  • S1.5400A Korolev Lox/Kerosene rocket engine. 67.3 kN. Molniya 8K78M-3. Isp=342s. First flight 1964. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Molniya 8K78 Russian orbital launch vehicle. Four stage derivative of the R-7 ICBM developed on a crash-program basis in 1960 for Soviet lunar and planetary deep space probe missions. The third stage found later use in the Voskhod and Soyuz launchers. By the 1970's mature versions of the launch vehicle were used almost entirely for launch of Molniya communications satellites and Oko missile early warning spacecraft into elliptical, 12-hour earth orbits. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya, in variants with Blocks ML, 2BL, or SO-L third stages according to payload. More...
  • Molniya 8K78M 2BL Russian orbital launch vehicle. Improved Molniya variant with Blok-2BL upper stage for placement of Oko early-warning satellites into Molniya-class orbits with apogees of 38,000 km. More...
  • Kvant-1 Russian orbital launch vehicle. From 1996-2001 RSC Energia carried out design studies on the Kvant-1 light launch vehicle with a low earth orbit payload capability of 1.8 to 3.0 metric tons. Market surveys seemed to indicate a need for a new launch vehicle of this class but development funding was not forthcoming. More...

Associated Propellants
  • Lox/Kerosene Liquid oxygen was the earliest, cheapest, safest, and eventually the preferred oxidiser for large space launchers. Its main drawback is that it is moderately cryogenic, and therefore not suitable for military uses where storage of the fuelled missile and quick launch are required. In January 1953 Rocketdyne commenced the REAP program to develop a number of improvements to the engines being developed for the Navaho and Atlas missiles. Among these was development of a special grade of kerosene suitable for rocket engines. Prior to that any number of rocket propellants derived from petroleum had been used. Goddard had begun with gasoline, and there were experimental engines powered by kerosene, diesel oil, paint thinner, or jet fuel kerosene JP-4 or JP-5. The wide variance in physical properties among fuels of the same class led to the identification of narrow-range petroleum fractions, embodied in 1954 in the standard US kerosene rocket fuel RP-1, covered by Military Specification MIL-R-25576. In Russia, similar specifications were developed for kerosene under the specifications T-1 and RG-1. The Russians also developed a compound of unknown formulation in the 1980's known as 'Sintin', or synthetic kerosene. More...

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