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# h047b R-7 Soyuz rocket with launch key

R-7 rocket launch key used for all major Soviet/Russian launch vehicles displayed next to Soyuz rocket carrier model. Same way as displayed during first Soviet Space Exhibit in the city of Fort Worth (Texas) in 1991.

Used to ignite the engines of the Soyuz launch vehicles, this ignition key is inserted into the control console at the blockhouse, and turned around like a key in a car ignition.

The R-7 Semyorka (Russian: Р-7 "Семёрка") was the world's first true intercontinental ballistic missile, deployed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War from 1959 to 1968. To the West it was known by the NATO reporting name SS-6 Sapwood and within the Soviet Union by the GRAU index 8K71. In modified form, it launched Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into orbit, and became the basis for the Soyuz space launcher and the Vostok, Molniya and Voskhod variants.

The widely used nickname for the R-7 launcher, "semyorka", simply means "the digit 7" in Russian.

On 15 December, 1959 the R-7 missile was tested at Plesetsk for the first time. The Cold War entered a new phase in 1957, when, for the first time, the USSR could target the US territory with nuclear-tipped missiles. As Soviet designers were still testing the R-7 missile in Tyuratam, the military had already started looking for places to deploy the new weapon. The shortest path for missile attack against North American continent extended across the Arctic Ocean. It was clear that the launch pads had to be placed as far north as possible for the maximum use of the missiles' flight range. At the same time, the future launch sites had to be accessible by railroad, (the only way of transporting R-7 stages), while being remote enough to maintain maximum secrecy. A search team of the Ministry of Defense chose the village of Plesetsk in Archangel Region, 800 km north of Moscow (62.8° Northern latitude, 40.1° Eastern magnitude) as the location of the first operational base for the R-7 missile.


R-7 launched from both Soviet Space Ports (Cosmodromes) Baikonur and Plesetsk.

 # h047b R-7 Soyuz rocket with launch key 1
 # h047b R-7 Soyuz rocket with launch key 2
 # h047b R-7 Soyuz rocket with launch key 3
 # h047b R-7 Soyuz rocket with launch key 4
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This product was added to our catalog on Wednesday 17 March, 2010.