Union R6
by gc1ceo
uploaded 2017-08-31
(updated 2018-06-05)
mod ship
#vostok #russian


  • Type: VAB
  • Class: ship
  • Part Count: 71
  • Mods: 5


  • New TantaresLV
  • Squad (stock)
  • TweakableEverything
  • Vostok

The R-7 Semyorka, introduced in 1957, is famous for not only being the world’s first intercontinental ballistic missile but acting as the ancestor for many launch vehicles. It was the end result of a realization by 1953 that long-range ballistic missiles were the eventual future of military arsenals. One of Stalin’s final decrees in 1953 was to begin a new ballistic missile program in the Soviet Union which led to the R-7 Semyorka.

An earlier proposal, dubbed by some as the R-6 rocket, got through early development stages before being merged into the R-7 program. The R-6 rocket could have had considerably less carrying capacity but could have acted as a stop-gap measure if either the R-7 had been delayed or had suffered from extensive early failures. However early in the R-6 program both scientists and designers sought a much more powerful rocket and with so many changes it became designated as the R-7.

During the development of the Vostok spacecraft there had been some talk about conducting manned sub-orbital tests with the craft before risking it on an orbital mission attempt. This was later done with the first two manned Mercury missions in mid-1961 before John Glenn made his orbital trip in 1962. However the need to beat the Americans for a second time in the Space Race was paramount and a compromise of only a single orbit was eventually reached.

This build presents an alternative scenario where the R-6 was built and adopted as a sub-orbital launch vehicle. This could have allowed a manned, albeit sub-orbital, flight to have occurred months or even years prior to Vostok 1. The mission profile is similar to my Etoh-Hermes or Mercury-Redstone craft and is only meant to test out the spacecraft just beyond the edge of space.

The Union R-6 is similar to the Union R-7, or similar launchers, with a lower main stage assisted by four booster rockets. The main rocket should get the spacecraft into the upper atmosphere and afterwards the upper stage will push it past the edge of space. You should handle the roll immediately following lift-off and wait until your velocity has reached 100 m/s before initiating your pitch program. The pitch should be gentle and end up between 40 and 60 degrees with your initial goal being to push your projected apogee with your downrange projection being secondary.

The Aurora spacecraft is my approximation of the Vostok spacecraft used in several of my other builds. However it has had its fuel supply decreased for weight reduction purposes although the engine is powerful enough to either boost your projections further or act as a faux retro-rocket. The upper stage should be decoupled upon exhaustion, much like the orbital mission profile. This gives you enough time to test out a few of the Aurora’s rudimentary systems before plunging back into the atmosphere.

Built in the VAB in KSP version 1.4.3.

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