After discussing the Key to start (Ключ на старт) command during Soyuz launch sequence, I decided to look at the historic lineage of the key and the command.

Gradually moving backward through R7 ICBM to R1 (the first large Soviet ballistic missile, a replica of V2/A4) historic videos I see that the launch sequence doesn't change a lot.

That made me go a bit further back in history... and voila:

The V2 site states that the A4 rocket launch sequence involved the "Schlüssel auf Schießen!" order. That is Key to launch.

Now, the dear Wikipedia states that the PGM-11 Redstone rocket is a direct descendant of V2. Moreover, it was designed by the group of german engineers led by von Braun himself.

So the question is: does the Redstone launch sequence involve the key and an equivalent of "Schlüssel auf Schießen!" command?

The bonus question is: does the Dongfeng launch sequence involve the key and the command? The first Dongfeng rockets were licensed copies of R2 and other Soviet rockets.

  • $\begingroup$ The Redstone transcript is a rare thing, but I have found this one. What is interesting here is that the final sequence really matches the one of Soyuz quite well. If there was a key involved it should have been used before the last several commands. $\endgroup$
    – user54
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


The Redstone missile firing procedures are described here. According to Table XVII, p.125, the operator shall "At X-0 minutes, depress FIRE switch and hold for 1 second".

So no, there's no key.


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