The Vostok rocket was developed by the Soviet Union to as their main launch vehicle for space flights. It was based on the R-7, an ICBM designed by Sergei Korolev and first launched in 1957. An R-7 rocket was used to carry Sputnik 1 into space on October 4, 1957. It was a single rocket with 4 booster engines attached to the sides, which acted like a multi stage rocket. The Vostok was an R-7 with an extra upper stage rocket, called Blok-E. This upper stage would fire as the lower stages ran out of fuel (a mix of kerosene and liquid oxygen.
The Vostok was the first rocket with enough power to reach a solar orbit, with Lunar 1, launched on January 2, 1959. Luna 2 was the first rocket to reach the Moon, launched September 14, 1959. Luna 3, launched October 4, 1959, was able to take photographs of the far side of the Moon.
A Vostok rocket carried the Vostok 1 spacecraft, carrying Yuri Gagarin, the first person to go into space on April 12, 1961. Vostok 6 carried Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space on June 16, 1963.
- "Historic Spacecraft - Information About Russian Rockets". historicspacecraft.com. 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2012.