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

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]

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.[2][3][4][5] The Molniya also carried early Venera probes to Venus.

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


See also


  1. ^ Harvey, Brian (5 July 2007). Russian Planetary Exploration: History, Development, Legacy and Prospects. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-387-46343-8.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-1 Archived 16 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya 8K78M Archived 8 May 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Encyclopedia Astronautica Molniya-2 Archived 2 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ The Soyuz Launch Vehicle: The Two Lives of an Engineering Triumph By Christian Lardier, Stefan Barensky, page 156

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