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Russian Space Industry

Roskosmos Organizations


NII - Nauchno Issledovatelskiy Institut

Scientific Research Institute

Chemical Engineering Institute NII KhIMMASH Scientific Research Institute for Chemical Engineering
Kuznetsov Institute NII PM Kuznetsov NII for Applied Mechanics
Keldysh Center Keldysh Centre Keldysh Research Centre
Leipunsky IPPEIPPEInstitute for Physics and Power Engineering imeni Leipunsky
NITs KS NITs KS Scientific Research Centre for Space Systems Engineering
Physical Measurements Institute NIIFI NII for Physical Measurements
Precision Instruments NII TP NII for Precision Instruments
TsNII Kometa TsNPOCentral Science and Research Institute
TsNIIMash TsNIIMASH Central NII for Machine Building
Urals Composite UNIIKM Urals NII for Composite Materials

KB - Konstruktorskoe Byuro

Design Bureau

ArmaturaKB ArmaturaArmatura Design Bureau
ArsenalFrunze KB ArsenalArsenal Frunze Design Bureau
Chemical AutomationKBKhADesign Bureau for Chemical Automation
Chemical Transport Engineering KB TKhM Design Bureau for Chemical Transport Engineering
Fakel OKB Fakel Fakel Experimental Design Bureau
Isayev KB KB KhIMMASHIsayev Design Bureau for Chemical Engineering
KBOM KBOM General Engineering Design Bureau
KBSM KBSM Special Engineering Design Bureau
KBTM KBTM Transport Engineering Design Bureau
Motor KB Motor Motor Design Bureau
Salyut KBOKB 23
TsKB TM GP TsKB TM Central Heavy Engineering Design Bureau (State Enterprise)
TsSKB TsSKB Central Specialised Design Bureau
Vympel KB GNIP OKB Vympel State Research and Engineering Enterprise

NPO - Nauchno Proizvodstvennoe Obedinenie

Scientific Production Association

AgatGPO Agat Agat Organization (State Enterprise)
ElectromechanicsNPO Electromechanics Electromechanical Institute (EMR)
Energomash NPO Energomash Glushko NPO for Power Engineering
KhrunichevKhrunichev Plant JSC GKNPTS imeni. M.V. Khrunichev
Krasmash NPO Krasmash Krasnoyarsk machine-building plant
Lavochkin NPO Lavochkin Lavochkin Research and Production Association
MolniyaNPO MolniyaJSC Scientific and Production Association Molniya
NPO AP NPO AP NPO for Automation and Instrument Engineering
NPO IT NPO IT NPO for Measurement Technology
Progress Progress Samara Progress Plant
ISS-ReshetnevNPO PM Research and Production Association for Applied Mechanics
Siberian Instruments PO Siberian Instruments Siberian Instruments and Systems Production Association
Tekhnomash GP NPO Tekhnomash Tekhnomash NPO (State Enterprise)
UKVZ UKVZ Kirov Ust-Katav Railway Carriage Plant
VMZ VMZ Voronyezh Mechanical Factory

Russia launched a sweeping reform of the space industry in 2013 amid a deep crisis in the sphere. As part of the reform the United Rocket and Space Corporation was set up, which is expected to consolidate all the enterprises of the industry, thus leaving Russia’s space agency Roscosmos in charge of research institutes and ground infrastructure organizations.


During the Cold War few details were available on Soviet factories equivalent to those of American industry in which specialized craft were built or where "serial" production is carried on. Occasional American visitors had been allowed to visit aircraft factories, and it was always possible that some space manufacturing is done in closed but adjacent buildings in some of these aviation centers. Occasional photographs had shown assembly lines for Vostok and for Soyuz spacecraft, and the numbers of such craft shown in the pictures strengthened the notion that the same basic shells were used for the large unmanned recoverable Kosmos flights used by the Soviet military to conduct observations of interest. Somewhere there must also be a production line for the smaller Kosmos, because many use the same basic shell, with modifications to fit the particular missions of the craft.

Except for the very largest launch vehicles, presumably almost all components were rail-transportable, especially as the Soviet railway lines have a generous clearance gauges through tunnels and stations. Western observers knew both through Soviet movies and through visits to Tyuratam that launch rockets and payloads were brought together in assembly buildings within a few kilometers of the launch pads, with the mating done horizontally, and then the combined rocket and payload pushed out to the pad atop flat cars and special transporters by diesel locomotives. At the pad, the transporter tilts the rocket up into a vertical position for final checkout and launch.


Of necessity the Russians must have test stands for rocket development, and environmental chambers for rockets and payloads. These were not described as to location in the open literature.

Because of the numerous Soviet failures in planetary payloads, they had come to the American practice of having a duplicate payload in an environmental chamber undergoing as nearly as possible the same conditions as the actual spacecraft in flight, so that if problems develop, solutions can be tested with the laboratory "bird." This was first announced as the practice with the Venera 4 flight. (133) Something similar has been hinted at in connection with manned flights in 1974 and 1975.

The principal test and training center for Soviet cosmonauts is at Zvezdnvy Gorodok (Star City) east of Moscow in the suburbs. This has been visited by both the American astronauts and NASA technicians, and also by the Western press.

On July 21, 1980, Tass reported that the Gagarin cosmonaut training center at Star City was 20 years old, pinpointing its establishment at a time just after the first unmanned test of the Vostok spaceship. (134) Facilities at the center were said to include class rooms, laboratories, scale models of spacecraft and orbital stations, a sports training complex, centrifuges, thermal chambers and other equipment to simulate conditions in space. Among the latter was a new pool, 23 meters in diameter and 12 meters deep, containing models of a Soyuz craft and a Salyut station. In this neutral buoyancy facility, cosmonauts, wearing spacesuits, practiced various operations in space, such as extravehicular activity to examine the exterior of their craft.

The official ASTP histories do not add greatly to this description. The Lebedev and Romanov book has a color photograph of the simulation hall in the cosmonaut training center.135 Accounts of visits by American delegations in October 1970 and October 1973, in the Ezell's book, (136) refer to a manned spaceflight museum with a re-construction of Gagarin's office and the memorabilia collected by him on his subsequent world tours. NASA Deputy Administrator, George Low, on his second visit, saw more of Star City and was impressed by the amount of new construction taking place.137 A new four-story training building was being erected especially for ASTP. In addition they were building a new hostel and dispensary for the U.S. team. Star City provides good living accommodations for the cosmonauts and their families, and associated scientists and technicians.

Apparently there were some facilities for training in the Tyuratam area, presumably in or near the new, burgeoning city of Leninsk. The American visitors found the accommodations provided at Leninsk to be equal or superior to those provided at the Kennedy Space Center. The cosmonauts when suited up for flights ride out to the pad in a well-equipped, air-conditioned bus, much in the manner that NASA astronauts were transported.

When the Soyuz 9 cosmonauts returned to Earth, they went to a special isolation center, which was highly reminiscent of the Houston quarantine facility, perhaps as a dry run for similar procedures once Soviet cosmonauts return from the Moon. (138)

The lunar material recovered by Luna 16 on the Moon was also taken to a special isolation laboratory at an unspecified point which employs the same general kind of procedures to preserve freedom from contamination, both in and out, as Houston has supplied for its Lunar Receiving Laboratory. (139)

All in all, one was struck with the close parallels between the United States and Soviet programs in terms of procedures and equipment, but also with the paucity of definitive Soviet information in the public domain on any of these matters aside from the few facilities which have been occasionally opened to visitors.


During the Cold War, reliable information about Soviet space research centers was limited. There were a few which had come to public attention. For example, the engine development work of the Leningrad Gas Dynamics Laboratory had been revealed through research publications of a theoretical nature, and early experimental engines as well as a few operational engines had been put on display and described as developed there. There is even a museum in Leningrad where it is possible to see these products.

The large body of published literature in various fields of space sciences revealed researchers in many scientific institutes pursue studies of geophysics, the upper atmosphere, radiation, space medicine, the planets, the Sun, and so forth. But it was not possible from these papers to build a definitive list of titles and locations of space laboratories and centers. It was assumed that some were in the new science cities which have been created in several parts of the Soviet Union.

A fairly detailed description of one major institute was provided during 1971. The Moscow Space Research Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences consists of administrative buildings, parking lots, and laboratories in the central area, with experimental and storage areas at the back. The administrative building has 3 stories, underground parking, a library, conference and reception rooms, and an auditorium seating 1,200 persons. The laboratories were in a 13-story building with 2-story annexes. There were special air-conditioning units in towers nearby. All told, there were 41,000 square meters of floor space, including 33,000 square meters in laboratories; and the building volume is 599,870 cubic meters, including 534,700 cubic meters in laboratories. (131)

It has been reported that a branch of the Space Research Institute was established at Tarusa in Kaluga Oblast. (132) Foundations for a new building, to be constructed by Yugoslav specialists, had been laid. A new satellite communication center had already begun operation and there were plans to carry out extensive research during the 1980's into astrophysics and studies of the solar system.



131. Stroitelstvo i Arkhitektura, Moskvy, Moscow, Nov. 1, 1971, pp. 26-29.

132. Moscow Home Service, 1630 GMT, May 23, 1981.

133. Tass 0800 GMT, Oct. 19, 1967, quoting Komsomolskaya Pravda, Moscow.

134. Tass in English, 2005 GMT, July 21, 1980.

135. Ibid., pp. 46-47.

136. Ibid., p. 110.

137. Ibid., p. 2233.

138. Tass, 1704 GMT, June 20, 1970.

139. Tass, 1077 GMT, Sept. 26, 1970.

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Page last modified: 10-08-2019 19:02:04 ZULU