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Kapustin Yar
48.4 N 45.8 E

Overview, Supporting Facilities and Launch Vehicles of the

Soviet Space Program *

post 1988 Studies


From 1966 to 1987 the USSR operated three launch sites: Baikonur in Kazakhstan and Plesetsk and Kapustin Yar in Russia. The last facility, which only launched the smallest space boosters, conducted its final orbital mission in 1987 and is no longer a part of the Russian Military Space Forces which manages all launch activities. Kapustin Yar's last space related mission was the concluding sub-orbital flight of the BOR-5 subscale model of the Buran space shuttle in June, 1988. The other two sites remain quite active and both have performed more space launchings than any other facilities in the world.

Kapustin Yar is located on the banks of the Volga River, about 75 miles east of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad) and less than 30 miles east of Kazakhstan. This facility has been the site of sounding rocket and small orbital payload launches but is only infrequently used now. Its close proximity to Kazakhstan now precludes eastward launch without the approval of the Kazakh government.

According to some reports a British mission known as Project Robin flew a Canberra reconnaissance over the Kapustin Yar missile test site in 1953. New American radar technologies were used in the establishment of an intelligence collection site on the Black Sea coast at Samsum, Turkey, which enabled the United States to track the activity at Kapustin Yar.

The Soviet Union's INF Treaty eliminations began at Kapustin Yar Missile Test Complex on July 22, 1988, with the elimination of an SS-20 missile. The last SS-20 missile elimination occurred at Kapustin Yar Missile Test Complex in southern USSR on May 12, 1991. With the destruction of these SS-20 missiles, there remained only the elimination of SS-20 launchers and missile transporter vehicles to complete the Soviet Union's obligation to eliminate its 1,846 INF missiles and systems.


  • Kapustin Yar @ Encyclopedia Astronautica
  • Adapted from: Europe and Asia in Space 1993-1994, Nicholas Johnson and David Rodvold [Kaman Sciences / Air Force Phillips Laboratory]

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