Okno

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This article is about the space surveillance station in Tajikistan. For village in Poland, see Okno, West Pomeranian Voivodeship.
Okno
Nurak, Tajikistan
Okno telescopes
Okno is located in Tajikistan
Okno
Okno
Type Space surveillance facility
Site information
Owner Russia [1][2]
Controlled by Russia
Open to
the public
No
Condition Operational
Site history
Built 1999 (1999)[3]
Built by Soviet Union/Russia

Okno (Russian: Окно meaning window) is a Russian space surveillance station located in Nurak in Tajikistan.[4] It is run by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces and is part of the Centre for Outer Space Monitoring.[5] It is located 2,216 metres (7,270 ft) above sea level in the Sanglok mountains, an area with clear night skies. Another facility, Okno-S, is in the Russian Far East.

The facility consists of a number of telescopes in domes and is similar to the US GEODSS system. It is designed for the detection and analysis of space objects such as satellites.[5] The designers were awarded a Russian state prize for science and technology in 2004.[2]

History[edit]

The Okno facility was started by the Soviet Union in 1979 using thousands of military unit No. 14464 "Construction Forces" draftees. All construction stopped in 1992 due to the civil war in Tajikistan and the centre started test operations in 1999 and combat duty in 2004.[6] Ownership of the complex was transferred from Tajikistan to Russia in 2004 in return for the writing off of $242 million USD of Tajikistan's $299 million USD debt to Russia.[1][2]

When it was built it was believed by some in the west to be a military anti-satellite laser facility rather than one for optical tracking. In 1987 John E. Pike of the Federation of American Scientists was quoted as saying "Whether or not this facility will be capable of shooting down satellites or 'Star Wars,' it most certainly is developing the kind of technology that would eventually be able to do so."[4][7][8]

A complex like Okno features in the Tom Clancy novel The Cardinal of the Kremlin, based on actual satellite photography of the site. The description of the installations in the book matches closey its actual configuration though not its real purpose, as the book is based on Okno being a laser antimissile system. The facility is also featured in the game Operation Flashpoint: Red River as an anti-aircraft base.

Function[edit]

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Space Forces commander Oleg Ostapenko, Okno, July 2009

Okno is a facility for tracking and monitoring man-made space objects. The Russian military claims that it automatically detects objects at altitudes between 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) and 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi). This is above low Earth orbit and includes satellites in medium Earth orbit, geostationary orbit and some in high Earth orbit. It only works at night and works passively by picking up reflected sunlight off objects.[2][5]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Таджикистан передал России электронную станцию слежения за космосом" (in Russian). Lenta.ru. 2004-10-16. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Okno ELINT complex in Tajikistan is becoming Russian". Ferghana Information Agency. 2006-04-17. Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  3. ^ "Оптико-электронный комплекс "Окно" (Optical-Electronic complex "Okno")" (in Russian). Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. undated. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  4. ^ a b Sourcebook on the Okno (в/ч 52168), Krona (в/ч 20096) and Krona-N (в/ч 20776) Space Surveillance Sites. Federation of American Scientists. 2008-12-30. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c "Russia's military window on space". Russia Today. 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  6. ^ "ТАДЖИКИСТАН. Дмитрий Медведев и Президент Таджикистана Эмомали Рахмон посетили российскую оптико-электронную станцию обнаружения и распознавания космических объектов (ОЭС) "Окно"." (in Russian). President of Russia. 2009-17-31. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  7. ^ William J Broad (1987-10-23). "Private Satellite Photos Offer Clues About Soviet Laser Site". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-12. 
  8. ^ Robin Ranger (1988-09-14). "Red Horizons: The U.S. Response to Soviet Military Gains in Space". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2012-11-30. "massive Soviet laser facility under construction at Dushanbe"