The P-7 ballistic missile was tested in the Soviet Union 57 years ago. As it turned out, this event was of incredible importance. It was the P-7 missile that carried the firstsatellites into the orbit. President John Kennedy later said that when his aministration found out about the fact that the Russians launched a space satellite with a P-7, they were in total shock for a week. It is also likely that the USSR’s inter-continental missiles helped to peacefully settle the Caribbean crisis of 1962.
The creation of the ballistic missile was approved of by the Soviet government and by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union on May 20, 1954. This decision had a very simple explanation: the USSR had a large gap to fill in military development at that time and American army bases were very close to Soviet borders. The USA was beyond any reach.
The missile was designed by USSR’s famous Design Bureau-1, presided over by scientist Sergey Korolev. As was common in the USSR, Korolev had all opportunities available to him: unlimited funding and people. He received everything he needed for his work.
It took Korolev a rather short period of time to design the missile: only 2.5 years. The first missile was ready by the beginning of 1957, but the first tests were not successful: the missile burst into pieces due to overloading. After the missile was tested again, everything was ok. Soviet newspapers wrote that the USSR had invented a new inter-continental missile. The American administration was speechless.
The P-7 missile became part of the Soviet Armed Forces on January 20, 1960. However, they were rather expensive, and in 1968, the missiles were withdrawn from use. The Soviet Union started using missile complexes, which were cheaper and more efficient. However, P-7 missiles were used for carrying space satellites into the orbit. The Soviet government achieved its goal: the USA’s territory became accessible.
Vasily Bubnov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov