Yuri’s flying machines – R7 ‘Semiorka’

Not a plane, but planet earth’s first space-ship. The R-7 ‘Semiorka’ (‘Little Seven’) rocket was one of the most successful outcomes of the work of engine designer Valentin Glushko and rocket designer Sergei Korolev.

R7 – planet earth's first space-ship

The efficient but small rocket engines designed by Glushko were grouped in clusters to create a massive booster able to act as an ICBM (Inter Continental Ballistic Missile) carrying a nuclear warhead, or to put a man into space. The same rocket could be used to end civilisation, or take mankind on to a new level of development: The engineers of the space race were playing an extraordinary game, for the highest stakes.

Today, ironically, the Baikonur Cosmodrome is open to the world, and versions of the R7 are still hard at work putting commercial and research payloads, and astronauts, into orbit. Today, anyone can fly Yuri’s rocket – all you need is the fare!

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