A Soviet S-75 rocket engine
Lot 61¤
SOVIET SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE ENGINE. Liquid propellant sustainer powerplant, designed by the bureau of celebrated rocket engine designer Alexei M. Isayev.
Sold for US$ 9,375 inc. premium
Auction Details
A Soviet S-75 rocket engine
Lot Details
SOVIET SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE ENGINE.
Liquid propellant sustainer powerplant, designed by the bureau of celebrated rocket engine designer Alexei M. Isayev. 39 x 14 x 14 inches, approximately 140lb when crated. Constructed of various alloys, one duct with cloth tape insulation and paper label reading "20[Cyrillic D]6510-30/3," various inspection marks mostly in red. Apparently unfired.

Alexei Isayev specialized in small-scale, liquid-fuelled rocket engines for Soviet manned and unmanned spacecraft. From 1957 to 1967 his engines powered the rockets carrying the first artificial satellites, the first man in space, and the first unmanned probes to the Moon and Venus. At the same time, in the 1950s, he was working on engines for surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and air-to-sea missiles.
The present engine is for a S-75 Dvina, a high-altitude, command-guided, SAM. Since its first deployment in 1957 it has become the most widely-deployed air defense missile in history. The missile came to the world's attention when an S-75 battery, using the newer, longer-range and higher-altitude V-750VN missile shot down the U-2 spy plane of Francis Gary Powers as he was flying over the Soviet Union on May 1, 1960. A Soviet missile crew in Cuba used an S-75 on October 27, 1962 to shoot down the U-2 flown by Rudolf Anderson—the only combat death of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Technically S-75 refers to the complete battery, the missile itself being known as a V-750. The missile is in two stages, consisting of a solid-fuel booster and a storable liquid-fuel upper stage. The booster fires for about 4–5 seconds and the main engine for about 22 seconds, by which time the missile is traveling at about Mach 3. The present engine is from the upper stage. The American U-2 spy plane flew at high altitudes, and for the S-75 to reach it, a more powerful engine was needed; the present engine is a version of that high-power rocket. An unusual artifact of the Cold War and a reminder that the space programs were largely an offshoot of military research and development.
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