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КОС "Сажень-С"
AZT-28 telescope at Yevpatoria
Site history
Built 1984 (1984)
Built by Soviet Union

Sazhen-S (Russian: Сажень-С) is a Soviet laser/optical space surveillance system, used to analyse the orbital parameters of space craft. There are several installations across the former Soviet Union. One of which is based at space ground station NIP-19[note 1] near Dunaivtsi in Ukraine.[1] It is named after the sazhen, a former Russian unit of measurement which translates as fathom and has a length of 2.1 metres (6.9 ft). A similar system is Sazhen-T.


A number of Sazhen-S installations were constructed at the network of scientific monitoring stations. At least two are now in Ukraine - one in Dunaivtsi and another at Yevpatoria. At least one is in Russia, and in 2004 it was reported that the Russian military was debugging interactions between the Russia installation(s) and the Russian Main Space Intelligence Centre[2]:149

Construction of the Sazhen-S facility in Dunaivtsi started in 1979 and it was commissioned in February 1984. In 2001 upgrade work started which has continued incrementally.[3]


Sazhen-S has five parts. The main part is an AZT-28 (АЗТ-28) telescope with a cassegrain reflector of diameter, 500 millimetres (20 in). Connected to this there is a laser ranging system, hinged light receivers, laser calibration equipment and a system to measure angular co-ordinates by using star catalogues.[4][5]

Sazhen-S can measure the slant range to space craft fitted with corner reflectors [4] which are in orbits with altitudes between 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) and 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) (between low earth orbit and above geosynchronous orbit). It also measures the angular co-ordinates of space craft at altitudes between 19,000 kilometres (12,000 mi) and 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) using reflected light, providing the space craft is at or above a magnitude of 13. In addition it can measure the brightness of space craft if they are at a magnitude of 12 and above.[4][6]


  1. ^ the official English name is the Centre of the special information receiving and processing and the navigating field control. NIP-19 is its former Soviet name.


  1. ^ "History". CSIRP and NFC, Dunayivtsy. n.d. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Thomson, Allen, ed. (2008-12-30). Sourcebook on the Okno (в/ч 52168), Krona (в/ч 20096) and Krona-N (в/ч 20776) Space Surveillance Sites (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved July 31, 2012. 
  3. ^ История (in Russian). CSIRP and NFC, Dunayivtsy. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c "Laser/optical system Sazhen-S". Оружие России [Weapons of Russia]. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "КОС "Сажень-С"". CSIRP and NFC, Dunayivtsy. n.d. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  6. ^ Nikolai Spassky, ed. (2005). Encyclopedia "Russia’s Arms and Technologies. The XXI Century Encyclopedia": Volume 11 — "Optoelectronic systems and laser equipment" (in English and Russian). Moscow: Publishing House "Arms and Technologies". p. 373. ISBN 5-93799-020-X.