Kapustin Yar

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Kapustin Yar
Капустин Яр
Russian Federation
Kapustin Yar is located in Russia
Kapustin Yar
Kapustin Yar
Coordinates 48°35′10″N 45°43′12″E / 48.586°N 45.72°E / 48.586; 45.72
Site information
Owner Russian Federation
Site history
Built 1946 (1946)
Built by Soviet Union

Kapustin Yar (Russian: Капустин Яр) is a Russian rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan Oblast, between Volgograd and Astrakhan. Known today as Znamensk (Russian: Знаменск), it was established in Soviet Union era on 13 May 1946 and in the beginning used technology, material and scientific support from defeated Germany. Numerous launches of test rockets for the Russian military were carried out at the site, as well as satellite and sounding rocket launches.

Open Street Map of the area.

The 4th Missile Test Range "Kapustin Yar" was established by a decree of the Soviet Government "On Questions of Jet Propelled Weapons" on 13 May 1946. The test range was created under the supervision of General-lieutenant Vasily Voznyuk (commander in chief of the test range 1946-1973) in the desert north end of the Astrakhan region. The first rocket was launched from the site on 18 October 1947; it was one of eleven German A-4s that had been captured.

The State R&D Test Range No 8 (GNIIP-8, "test range S") was established at Kapustin Yar in June 1951.

Five atmospheric nuclear tests of small power (10-40 kt) were performed over the site in 1957-1961.[1]

As of 1959 Kapustin Yar was the only publicly known Soviet missile test range. Non-Soviet observers believed at first that Sputnik 1 and 2 launched from the site.[2] With the further growth and development, Kapustin Yar became a cosmodrome, serving in this function since 1966. The rate of space launches was very low, usually 1-2 a year and during the Soviet era, it hosted only the two smallest launch vehicles, the R-12 and R-14 derived Kosmos boosters. There were no space launches at all from 1988-1998. The town of Znamensk was established to support the scientists working on the facilities, their families and supporting personnel. Initially this was a secret city, not shown on maps and requiring official permission to visit.

Evidence of the importance of Kapustin Yar was obtained by Western intelligence through debriefing of returning German scientists and spy flights. The first such flight reportedly took place in mid-1953 using a high flying Canberra aircraft of the RAF. Numerous circumstantial reports suggest this flight took place, using the Canberra PR3 WH726, but the UK Government has never admitted such a flight took place nor have any of the supposed participants provided direct evidence[3][4] The Canberra took off from Giebelstadt Air Base, Germany, and, flying via the Volga to the Caspian Sea, landed at Tabriz, Iran.

Due to its role as a development site for new technology, Kapustin Yar is also the site of numerous Soviet-era UFO sightings and has been called "Russia's Roswell".[5]

Missiles tested/launched[edit]

Launch pads[edit]

Name Coordinates Comment
Burya Launch Complex Kapustin Yar Burya 48°24′00″N 46°19′48″E / 48.4000°N 46.3300°E / 48.4000; 46.3300 Burya. Elaborate complex consisting of horizontal assembly building, huge circular rail line, and mobile erector/launcher. Built at the Soviet Vladimirovka flight test facility south of Kapustin Yar.
Area 84 Kapustin Yar LC84 48°33′00″N 46°15′00″E / 48.5500°N 46.2500°E / 48.5500; 46.2500 Launch pads: 1. R-5, RT-15. R-5 Launch complex consisting of three pads.
Area 86 Kapustin Yar LC86 48°32′24″N 46°15′00″E / 48.5400°N 46.2500°E / 48.5400; 46.2500 Launch pads: 4. Kosmos 11K63, Kosmos 63S1, Kosmos 63S1M, R-31. Single launch complex consisting of four launch pads.
Area 107 Kapustin Yar LC107 48°35′24″N 46°17′36″E / 48.5900°N 46.2933°E / 48.5900; 46.2933 Launch pads: 2. Kosmos 11K65M, Kosmos 65MP, R-14. Single launch complex consisting of two launch pads.
Mayak-1 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-1 48°33′00″N 46°15′00″E / 48.5500°N 46.2500°E / 48.5500; 46.2500 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Mayak-2 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-2 48°33′00″N 46°15′00″E / 48.5500°N 46.2500°E / 48.5500; 46.2500 Launch pads: 1. Kosmos 63S1, R-12.
Pioner Launch Complex Kapustin Yar Pioner 48°37′12″N 46°15′00″E / 48.6200°N 46.2500°E / 48.6200; 46.2500 Rail-served launch complex.
Area 1 Kapustin Yar PL1 48°24′00″N 46°12′00″E / 48.4000°N 46.2000°E / 48.4000; 46.2000 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Area 87 Kapustin Yar PL87 48°30′00″N 45°48′00″E / 48.5000°N 45.8000°E / 48.5000; 45.8000 Launch pads: 1. RT-2.
R-1 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-1 48°48′00″N 45°40′12″E / 48.8000°N 45.6700°E / 48.8000; 45.6700
R-11 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-11 48°42′00″N 46°12′00″E / 48.7000°N 46.2000°E / 48.7000; 46.2000 Naval missile test area.
R-14 Silo Prototype Kapustin Yar R-14 48°30′36″N 46°15′36″E / 48.5100°N 46.2600°E / 48.5100; 46.2600
R-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-2 48°46′48″N 45°42′00″E / 48.7800°N 45.7000°E / 48.7800; 45.7000
R-5 Initial Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-5 48°45′00″N 45°45′00″E / 48.7500°N 45.7500°E / 48.7500; 45.7500
SM-49 submarine simulator Kapustin Yar SM-49 48°30′00″N 45°48′00″E / 48.5000°N 45.8000°E / 48.5000; 45.8000 Launch pads: 1. R-11FM.
Sounding rocket launch area Kapustin Yar Sounding 48°42′00″N 46°12′00″E / 48.7000°N 46.2000°E / 48.7000; 46.2000
V-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar V-2 48°33′00″N 45°49′12″E / 48.5500°N 45.8200°E / 48.5500; 45.8200 Original site for V-2 launches in 1946. First complex at Kapustin Yar.
Vertikal Launch Pad Kapustin Yar Vertikal 48°30′00″N 46°46′48″E / 48.5000°N 46.7800°E / 48.5000; 46.7800 Launch pads: 1. Launch site for R-5 scientific launches, located well east of the primary military launch areas.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ http://kapyar.ru/index.php?pg=404
  2. ^ Ley, Willy (October 1959). "For Your Information". Galaxy. p. 73. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Lashmar, Paul: "Spy Flights of the Cold War" Sutton Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-7509-1970-1 pp 76-83.
  4. ^ Pedlow, Gregory W and Welzenbach, Donald E: "The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974" History Staff Centre for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency p23.
  5. ^ Featured in the 2005 UFO Files documentary episode "Russian Roswell" which aired on the History Channel.

External links[edit]