Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin

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Space control-monitoring ship "Kosmonaut Yuri Gagarin" in 1987.png
Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin in 1987
Class overview
Name: Sofiya (Modified) (Soviet Project 1909)
Builders: Baltic Shipyard, Leningrad
Operators: Academy of Sciences
Built: 1971
In service: 1971-1991
Completed: 1
Retired: 1
Soviet Union
  • 1971–1996: Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin
  • 1996: Agar
Operator: 1971–1992: Academy of Sciences of the USSR
Port of registry:
Builder: Baltic Shipyard, Leningrad
Yard number: 601
Acquired: September 1971
Status: Scrapped in Alang after 1996
General characteristics of Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin
Type: SESS / Vigilship (Veladora)
Tonnage: 31,300 DWT
Displacement: 53,500 tons standard
Length: 760 ft (230 m)
Beam: 102 ft (31 m)
Draft: 33 ft (10 m)
Propulsion: 2 steam turbines (Kirov) with electric drive; 19,000 shp, 1 shaft
Speed: 17.7 knots (33 km/h)
Range: 24,000 nmi (44,448 km) at 17.7 knots (33 km/h)
Complement: approx. 160 + 180 scientist-technicians
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 Don-Kay and 1 Okean (Navigation);
  • Tracking and communications equipment includes Quad Ring, Ship Bowl, and Ship Globe. Two pairs of Vee Tube/Cone HF antennas.
Aircraft carried: none
Aviation facilities: none

Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin (Russian: «Космона́вт Ю́рий Гага́рин») was a Soviet space control-monitoring ship or Vigilship (Veladora) that was devoted to detecting and receiving satellite communications. Named after cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the ship was completed in December 1971 to support the Soviet space program. The ship also conducted upper atmosphere and outer space research.[1]

It had very distinguishable looks due to two extremely large and two smaller parabolic "dish" antennas placed on top of the hull.

In 1986, the Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin was the world's largest communications ship and was the flagship of a fleet of communications ships.[1] These ships greatly extended the tracking range when the orbits of cosmonauts and unmanned missions were not over the USSR.[2]

In 1975, the ship was a part of the Soviet-American Apollo-Soyuz joint test program.[3]

The communications ships belonged to the Soviet Academy of Sciences. The maritime part fell under the responsibility of the Baltic- and Black sea shipping. The ships had home ports in Ukraine (Kosmonavt Yuriy Gagarin and the other surveillance ship Akademik Sergei Korolev), so after the fall of the Soviet Union they were transferred to Ukraine – ending their role in spaceflight.

The ship was sold for scrap shortly after the break-up of the Soviet Union along with the Akademik Sergei Korolev.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Norman Polmar, Guide to the Soviet Navy, Fourth Edition (1986), United States Naval Institute, Annapolis Maryland, ISBN 0-87021-240-0
  2. ^ Tracking sites and ships, Komsmonavtka Website[permanent dead link], Retrieved 6/13/2008
  3. ^ SP-4209 The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project, (U.S.) NASA, Online Article

External links[edit]