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The first US two stage rocket was bumper, a combination of a german V2 liquid fuel rocket with an US second stage.

The Soviet Union had the R-1 and R-2 based on the V-2.

In this list, the R-7 is the first two stage rocket (or one and a half stage) of the Soviet Union. Did they never try an experimental two stage rocket using the R-1 or R-2 as first stage?

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    $\begingroup$ R-7 is a "stage and a half" rocket; the sustainer core engines are lit at the same time as the boosters. I don't know if that changes your interpretation. $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Nov 30 '17 at 19:33
  • $\begingroup$ I know about the boosters of the R-7. You may describe the R-7 as a one and a half stage, but it is of course more than single stage. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Nov 30 '17 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ A variant of the R-7 family, the Luna had an additional stage which was lit in flight, not at launch pad. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Nov 30 '17 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ There was also a single staged R5 that had 1200 km range. From what I know it seems like R7 was the first project of the staged rocket... which was also the first ICBM project. Soviet rocket program was more restricted in resources and concentrated on urgent needs of military. So probably no experiments on R1, R2 and R5 was done as this neither is cost-effective for medium range rockets nor produces ICBM immediately. But that's just my guess. $\endgroup$ – OON Dec 4 '17 at 22:52
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In the photo, Igor Merkulov prepares the first Soviet two-stage rocket for launch. In 1936, Igor Merkulov (Group for the Study of Reactive Motion) designed the world's first two-stage rocket, which had powder and propulsion jet engines. The official tests of this rocket took place in May 1939, at the Planerskaya railway station near Moscow. enter image description here

enter image description here

P.S.RV-3 rocket. I scanned the photo about 10 years ago in an old magazine. In an artcle about Igor Merkulov. Little-known designer because his biography is connected with secret hypersonic speed missiles and a scramjets. The second photo from the article rgantd.ru The article is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the test of the two-stage rocket "RV-3" designed by Igor Alekseevich Merkulov

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  • $\begingroup$ Wonderful photos! Which one is you? ;-) Seriously though, I really like your answers! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 1 at 12:17
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh RV-3 rocket. I scanned the photo about 10 years ago in an old magazine. In an artcle about Igor Merkulov. Little-known designer because his biography is connected with secret hypersonic speed missiles and a scramjets. The second photo from the article rgantd.ru/materialy/… The article is dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the test of the two-stage rocket "RV-3" designed by Igor Alekseevich Merkulov $\endgroup$ – A. Rumlin Jun 1 at 16:12
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    $\begingroup$ This is really interesting information! If I were you I'd add that to your answer post. Comments are considered temporary, there's always the possibility of them being deleted in the future. For helpful comments though, the chance of that is small. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jun 1 at 16:46
  • $\begingroup$ The very first two stage rocket not using only solid fuel and without a V-2 as the first stage. 10 years before the first successful flight of bumper. About 20 years before the first successful launch of the a satellite using the R-7, that is really amazing. $\endgroup$ – Uwe Jun 2 at 16:08
  • $\begingroup$ offtop. Found this photo in an article published in 2014 russianspaceweb.com/vr3.html I uploaded a photo on Facebook in 2010. Characteristic vertical stripes are a defect in my scanner. $\endgroup$ – A. Rumlin Jun 4 at 2:52

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