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Kapustin Yar - History

Starting a story about the history of the test site should be from the distant 1945, when the victory over Germany made available for Soviet specialists the remnants of the outstanding rocket technologies of the team of Werner Von Braun, who himself, along with the most significant part of the team of developers and scientists, totaling about 400 people hands of the American military and continued his work already in the United States. All of the most valuable factories, test and scientific centers, including several dozen assembled V-2 rockets, practically all special test equipment and documentation have already been exported to the United States, when the first Soviet intelligence officers and specialists appeared on the ruins of the rocket cradle.

Collecting the remnants of the German team and documentation, shaking up the trash cans of research centers, experts managed to collect enough material in order to reproduce the design of the V-1 and V-2 missiles. In the USSR, a number of research institutes and design bureaus were urgently formed, which came to grips with the solution of this task. There was a need to create a specialized test site for research and testing.

In May 1946, a month after the Americans first launched the A-4 taken out of Germany at their White Sands test site in New Mexico, it was decided to create such a test site in the USSR. Then Kapustin Yar appeared only in the list of one of the possible places of deployment. The choice of the location of the future test site was entrusted to Major General Vasily Ivanovich VZNYUKU. Voznyuk began by going to Germany and finding his guards there, choosing the people for the future training ground stronger, more reliable. Reconnaissance team of specialists for a short time has done a lot of work on choosing the location of the future test site. All seven prospective areas were examined, materials on meteorology, hydrology, communications, construction opportunities, and so on were collected and analyzed. The area of the village of Kapustin Yar in the Astrakhan region was chosen, and it was his group that recommended the construction of a future missile range. The decision to build the test site in Kapustin Yar was made by the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) and the USSR Council of Ministers on June 23, 1947.

The first officers arrived at the test site on August 20, 1947. We pitched tents, organized a kitchen, a hospital. Together with the guardsmen Voznyuk military builders arrived. The conditions were harsh, if at all, we could talk about some conditions in the bare steppe. Already on the third day, on the slope of Smyslina gully, 10 kilometers from the village, construction began of a concrete test bench for fire tests of the A-4 engines, which were built according to German drawings and equipped with equipment removed from Germany and a bunker to observe the tests. Later this place was called the 1st site.

In September 1947, a special-purpose brigade of Major General Alexander F. Tveretsky arrived from Thuringia (Germany). Then two special trains with equipment, formed in Germany. For a month and a half of work, by the beginning of October 1947, in addition to the concrete test stand and bunker at the first site, a launch pad with a bunker, a temporary technical position, and an installation building were built. They made a highway and a 20-kilometer railway branch with a bridge over a deep ravine connecting the test site with the main road to Stalingrad (Volgograd). They built a lot and only for the A-4 rocket, which was listed first in the list of priorities.

The construction of housing for personnel at the site was not carried out until 1948, so builders and future testers lived in bare steppes, in tents, dugouts, temporary buildings, or were quartered in peasant huts. The bosses and specialists who arrived at the test site lived in the special train “Messina”, which, in addition to laboratory equipment, had quite comfortable cars, as well as the dining car in which they ate. By October 1, 1947, Voznyuk reported to Moscow about the complete readiness of the launch site for launching missiles, and on October 14, 1947, the first batch of A-1 (V-2) missiles arrived at the test site. Earlier, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev and other specialists arrived at the test site. March 16, 1962 Kapustin Yar from a missile range turned into a spaceport. That day the launch of the Cosmos-1 satellite was carried out. From the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome, small research satellites were launched, to launch which low-power launch vehicles were used.

In the early 1950s, in addition to the active program of rocket launches, the formation and development of the test base of the test site took place, launch and technical complexes were built. On February 20, 1956, a nuclear missile test was conducted at the Kapustin Yar test site. The launched R-5M missile delivered a nuclear warhead to the Aral steppe, where a nuclear explosion thundered. For 10 years (from 1947 to 1957), Kapustin Yar was the only place to test Soviet ballistic missiles. On the test site were tested missiles R-1 (September - October 1948, September - October 1949), R-2 (September - October 1949), R-5 (March 1953), R-12, R-14 , the latest Cold War rocket, the infamous SS-20 RSD-10, the world-famous Scud and a great many other short-range and medium-range missiles, cruise missiles, complexes and air defense missiles. In 1957-1959 there were launches of the intercontinental ballistic missile "The Tempest".

Since October 14, 1969, the Kapustin Yar has been functioning as an international cosmodrome. That day the launch of the Intercosmos-1 satellite, created by experts from socialist countries, took place. The Indian satellites Ariabhata and Bhaskara, the French satellite Sneg-3, went to Yara. Kapustin Yar played a major role in the training of skilled personnel for space rocket testers and leading personnel for new space centers. The Kapustin Yar cosmodrome assumed the role of a cosmodrome for "small" rockets and "small" satellites of the Earth research plan. This specialization persisted until 1988, when the need for launches of such satellites was sharply reduced, and space launches from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome were discontinued. However, the starting and technical positions for launch vehicles of the "

On April 29, 1999, from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome, the Kosmos-3M launch vehicle launched two artificial Earth satellites: the German one, the Abriksas, and the Italian, the Megsat. Launches to such an orbit are impossible from other Russian cosmodromes, because after the launch, the first stages of rockets fall in densely populated areas. When launched from Kapustin Yar, the separating parts of carriers land in the desert in the Aral Sea region.

Today the test site is the largest research and testing center in Europe. It has highly qualified scientific and testing personnel, is equipped with modern equipment and technology.




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Page last modified: 16-10-2018 16:13:20 ZULU