Sputnik 727
Sputnik rocket
FunctionEarly (first) carrier rocket
Country of originUSSR
Height8K71PS: 30.0 m (98.4 ft)
8A91: 31.1 m (102 ft)
Diameter2.99 m (9.8 ft)
Mass8K71PS: 267,000 kg (589,000 lb)
8A91: 269,300 kg (593,700 lb)
Payload to LEO (8K71PS)
Mass8K71PS: 500 kg (1,100 lb)
8A91: 1,327 kg (2,926 lb)
Associated rockets
Juno I
Launch history
StatusRetired (No Longer In Use)
Launch sitesLC-1/5, Baikonur
Total launches4 (2 8K71PS, 2 8A91)
Failure(s)1 (8A91)
First flight8K71PS: 4 October 1957
8A91: 27 April 1958
Last flight8K71PS: 3 November 1957
8A91: 15 May 1958
Type of passengers/cargoSputnik 1
Sputnik 2
Sputnik 3
Boosters (Block B, V, G, D)
No. boosters4
Powered by1 RD-107
Maximum thrust970 kN (220,000 lbf)
Specific impulse306 s
Burn time120 s
First stage (Block A)
Powered by1 RD-108
Maximum thrust912 kN (205,000 lbf)
Specific impulse308 s
Burn time330 s

The Sputnik rocket was an uncrewed orbital carrier rocket designed by Sergei Korolev in the Soviet Union, derived from the R-7 Semyorka ICBM. On 4 October 1957, it was used to perform the world's first satellite launch, placing Sputnik 1 into a low Earth orbit.

Two versions of the Sputnik were built, the Sputnik-PS (GRAU index 8K71PS), which was used to launch Sputnik 1 and later Sputnik 2, and the Sputnik (8A91), which failed to launch a satellite in April 1958, and subsequently launched Sputnik 3 on 15 May 1958.[1]

A later member of the R-7 family, the Polyot, used the same configuration as the Sputnik rocket, but was constructed from Voskhod components. Because of the similarity, the Polyot was sometimes known as the Sputnik 11A59.


Some R-7 variants

Sputnik 8A91

The Sputnik 8A91 had more powerful 8D76 and 8D77 engines installed,[2] increasing its payload capacity, and allowing it to launch much heavier satellites than Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2. It was launched two times, in 1958.[3] The first launch, on 27 April, failed due to vibrations that unexpectedly occurred during the flight along the longitudinal axis of the rocket. On 15 May, it successfully launched Sputnik 3.[4][5]

Sputnik specifications


  1. ^ (in Russian) Sputnik Rocket Archived 2005-01-03 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "РД-107 и РД-108 | RD-107 and RD-108". lpre.de. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  3. ^ "Jonathan McDowell's launch log". planet4589.org. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  4. ^ (in Russian) Soviet Solar Cells on Orbit
  5. ^ "Sputnik 3". astronautix.com. Archived from the original on 2013-11-08. Retrieved 2015-12-24.
  6. ^ "Sputnik 8A91". astronautix.com. Retrieved 13 May 2023.