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Kapustin Yar
Капустин Яр
Russian Federation
Mo narznaki108 1.png
Kapustin Yar is located in Russia
Kapustin Yar
Kapustin Yar
Kapustin Yar is located in Astrakhan Oblast
Kapustin Yar
Kapustin Yar
Coordinates48°35′N 45°43′E / 48.59°N 45.72°E / 48.59; 45.72Coordinates: 48°35′N 45°43′E / 48.59°N 45.72°E / 48.59; 45.72
Site information
OwnerRussian Federation
Controlled byRussian Aerospace Forces
Open to
the public
Site history
Built1946 (1946)
Built bySoviet Union

Kapustin Yar (Russian: Капустин Яр) is a Russian rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan Oblast, about 100 km east of Volgograd. It was established by the Soviet Union on 13 May 1946 and in the beginning used technology, material and scientific support from defeated Germany. Numerous launches of test rockets for the Russian military were carried out at the site, as well as satellite and sounding rocket launches. The town of Znamensk and Kapustin Yar (air base) were built nearby to serve the missile test range.

Naming and geography

The nearby village Kapustin Yar was used as operations base in the early days of the testing site. The actual name can be translated as "cabbage ravine".


R-2A and R-5A geophysical rockets
R-2A and R-5A geophysical rockets
Layout of the first Cosmos-1 satellite at the test site
Layout of the first Cosmos-1 satellite at the test site
R-2A rocket with two test dogs (Palma and Kusachka)
R-2A rocket with two test dogs (Palma and Kusachka)
RSD-10 missiles prepared for destruction
RSD-10 missiles prepared for destruction
Combat launching of the Iskander-M in the Kapustin Yar proving ground.
Combat launching of the Iskander-M in the Kapustin Yar proving ground.

The 4th Missile Test Range "Kapustin Yar" was established by a decree of the Soviet Government "On Questions of Jet Propelled Weapons" on 13 May 1946. The test range was created under the supervision of General-lieutenant Vasily Voznyuk (commander of the range 1946–1973) in the desert north end of the Astrakhan region. The first rocket was launched from the site on 18 October 1947; it was one of eleven German A-4s that had been captured.

The State R&D Test Range No 8 (GNIIP-8, "test range S") was established at Kapustin Yar in June 1951.

Five low yield (10-40 kt) atmospheric nuclear tests were performed over the site from 1957 to 1961.[1]

As of 1959, Kapustin Yar was the only publicly known Soviet missile test range. Non-Soviet observers believed at first that Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 launched from the site.[2] With the further growth and development, Kapustin Yar became a cosmodrome, serving in this function since 1966. The rate of space launches was very low, usually 1–2 a year and during the Soviet era, it hosted only the two smallest launch vehicles, the R-12 and R-14 derived Kosmos boosters. There were no space launches at all from 1988–1998. The town of Znamensk was established to support the scientists working on the facilities, their families and supporting personnel. Initially, this was a secret city, not shown on maps and requiring official permission to visit.

Evidence of the importance of Kapustin Yar was obtained by Western intelligence through debriefing of returning German scientists and spy flights. The first such flight reportedly[who?] took place in mid-1953 using a high flying Canberra aircraft of the RAF. The UK Government has never admitted such a flight took place nor have any of the supposed participants provided direct evidence[3][4]

Due to its role as a development site for new technology, Kapustin Yar is also the site of numerous Soviet-era UFO sightings and has been called "Russia's Roswell".[5]

On 3 June 1947, Resolution of the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) No. 2642–817, Kapustin Yar was designated as the location of the new rocket test site, Major General V. I. Voznyuk, and the chief of staff of the GPC, a colonel A. G. Karas.[6] The first officers arrived at the future training ground on 20 August 1947.

In September 1947, a special brigade of the Reserve of the Supreme Main Command, Major General of Artillery, arrived from Germany A. F. Tveretsky (since 1950 – the 22nd BON RVGK), then two special trains with equipment taken from Germany. By the beginning of October 1947, in addition to the concrete test stand and bunker, and at the 1st site, a launch site with a bunker, a temporary technical position, and an installation building were built; a highway and a 20-kilometer railway line connecting the landfill with the main highway to Stalingrad (Volgograd) were built.

Housing construction at the site was not conducted until 1948, builders and testers lived in tent, dugout, temporary buildings, and also lived in peasant izba in Kapustin Yar (village). Guide landfill lived in special train. By 1 October 1947, V. I. Voznyuk reported to the leadership about the readiness of the launch site for launching rockets, on 14 October 1947, the first batch of missiles V-2 (A-4) arrived at the test site.

On 18 October 1947 at 10:47 Moscow time, the first launch of ballistic missile in the USSR was made. In the period from 18 October to 13 November 1947, 11 V-2 rockets were launched, of which 7 achieved the targeted range (two of them with a large deviation from the set trajectory) and 4 failed.[7]

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 (missile) (March 1953), R-12 (missile), R-14 (missile), etc.

On 2 September 1959, a missile (R-12), for the first time in the world, was launched from a missile silo.

In 1957–1959, intercontinental cruise missile "Burya" started at the Kapustin Yar proving ground.

On 20 May 1960, the Training Center of the Rocket Forces of the Ground Forces was established on the territory of the State Landfill, whose task was to create combat coherence of missile Parts created, train and retrain rocket specialists, create regulatory documents for all-round missile combat activities parts of the Ground Forces.

On 16 March 1962, Kapustin Yar became cosmodrome: Kosmos 1 satellite was launched. Subsequently, small research satellites were launched from the Kapustin Yar cosmodrome, to launch which were used launch vehicle of the light class of the series Kosmos.

In subsequent years, a large number of various short- and medium-range missiles, cruise missile, complexes and air defense missiles were tested and tested at the test site.

According to open data, since the 1950s, at least 11 have been conducted at the Kapustin Yar test site nuclear explosions [8] (at an altitude of 300 m to 5, 5 km), the total capacity of which is approximately 65 atomic bombs, dropped on Hiroshima. In addition to nuclear tests, 24 thousand guided missiles were blown up in Kapustin Yar, 177 samples of military equipment were tested, 619 missiles were destroyed RSD-10.

In 1994, the 4 GPC Russian Ministry of Defense entered the test site Air Defense Forces. In October 1998, the 4th State Central Polygon was transformed into the 4th State Central Interspecific Polygon. In 1998, the "Sary-Shagan" test site (located in south-eastern Kazakhstan and rented by Russia) was removed from the Air Defense troops and reassigned to the 4th State Central Interspecific polygon.[9]

In 1999, Russian troops were redeployed to the Kapustin Yar test site from the 11th State Research Test Site of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation Emba (ru) due to the dismantling of the latter.[10]

In 2008, Russia carried out 27 launches launch vehicles, retaining the first place in the world in terms of the number of launches and surpassing its own figure for 2007. Most (19) of the 27 launches were performed from the Baikonur cosmodrome, six from the Plesetsk space launch center (Arkhangelsk Region). One space launch was carried out from the launch base Dombarovsky Air Base (Orenburg region) and the Kapustin Yar test site.[11]

Flight "Canberra"

Main article: Project Robin

Western intelligence services learned about the existence of the test site from German scientists returning to their homeland.[12] For an additional gathering of intelligence in August 1953, a specially trained Royal Air Force reconnaissance Canberra (Canberra PR3, tail number WH726), was equipped with a unique Robin camera.[13][14][note 1] The aircraft was launched from Giebelstadt Air Base and flying over the Volga at an altitude of more than 20 km, approached Kapustin Yar. The MiGs raised in alarm could only slightly damage the aircraft. After taking a photo of the landfill, the Canberra crossed the Caspian Sea and landed in the Iranian city of Tabriz. As a result of the flight, photographs of secret objects at the site were obtained.[note 2] The success of the operation gave impetus to the development of satellite and aerial photography programs of military facilities in the USSR and other socialist countries.

Missiles tested/launched

Launch pads

Name Coordinates Comment
Burya Launch Complex Kapustin Yar Burya 48°28′N 46°19′E / 48.47°N 46.32°E / 48.47; 46.32 Burya. Elaborate complex consisting of horizontal assembly building, huge circular rail line, and mobile erector/launcher. Built at the Soviet Vladimirovka flight test facility south of Kapustin Yar.
Area 84 Kapustin Yar LC84 48°37′N 46°18′E / 48.62°N 46.30°E / 48.62; 46.30 Launch pads: 1. R-5, RT-15. R-5 Launch complex consisting of three pads.
Area 86 Kapustin Yar LC86 48°36′N 46°18′E / 48.60°N 46.30°E / 48.60; 46.30 Launch pads: 4. Kosmos 11K63, Kosmos 63S1, Kosmos 63S1M, R-31. Single launch complex consisting of four launch pads.
Area 107 Kapustin Yar LC107 48°32′N 46°18′E / 48.54°N 46.30°E / 48.54; 46.30 Launch pads: 2. Kosmos 11K65M, Kosmos 65MP, R-14. Single launch complex consisting of two launch pads.
Area 107 Kapustin Yar LC107 48°32′N 46°18′E / 48.54°N 46.30°E / 48.54; 46.30 Launch garage: 1. mobile ICBM Topol/Topol-E
Mayak-1 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-1 48°36′N 46°18′E / 48.60°N 46.30°E / 48.60; 46.30 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Mayak-2 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-2 48°34′N 46°18′E / 48.57°N 46.30°E / 48.57; 46.30 Launch pads: 1. Kosmos 63S1, R-12.
Pioner Launch Complex Kapustin Yar Pioner 48°37′N 46°15′E / 48.62°N 46.25°E / 48.62; 46.25 Rail-served launch complex.
Area 1 Kapustin Yar PL1 48°24′N 46°12′E / 48.40°N 46.20°E / 48.40; 46.20 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Area 87 Kapustin Yar PL87 48°34′N 46°18′E / 48.56°N 46.30°E / 48.56; 46.30 Launch pads: 1. RT-2.
R-1 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-1 48°48′N 45°40′E / 48.80°N 45.67°E / 48.80; 45.67
R-11 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-11 48°42′N 46°12′E / 48.70°N 46.20°E / 48.70; 46.20 Naval missile test area.
R-14 Silo Prototype Kapustin Yar R-14 48°32′N 46°18′E / 48.53°N 46.30°E / 48.53; 46.30
R-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-2 48°47′N 45°42′E / 48.78°N 45.70°E / 48.78; 45.70
R-5 Initial Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-5 48°45′N 45°45′E / 48.75°N 45.75°E / 48.75; 45.75
SM-49 submarine simulator Kapustin Yar SM-49 48°40′N 46°16′E / 48.67°N 46.27°E / 48.67; 46.27 Launch pads: 1. R-11FM.
Sounding rocket launch area Kapustin Yar Sounding 48°42′N 46°12′E / 48.70°N 46.20°E / 48.70; 46.20 Site used to launch sounding rockets.
V-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar V-2 48°33′N 45°49′E / 48.55°N 45.82°E / 48.55; 45.82 Original site for V-2 launches in 1946. First complex at Kapustin Yar.
Vertikal Launch Pad Kapustin Yar Vertikal 48°30′N 46°47′E / 48.50°N 46.78°E / 48.50; 46.78 Launch pads: 1. Launch site for R-5 scientific launches, located well east of the primary military launch areas.

Interesting facts

This section contains a list of miscellaneous information. Please relocate any relevant information into other sections or articles. (September 2020)

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ The UK Government has never recognized that the flight happened, but several indirect pieces of evidence hint at it, published in the 1990s after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union.
  2. ^ The picture quality was not very high due to the vibration associated with the attacks of the Soviet interceptors.


  1. ^ "Ядерные взрывы на полигоне Капустин Яр". Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  2. ^ Ley, Willy (October 1959). "For Your Information". Galaxy. p. 73. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
  3. ^ Lashmar, Paul: "Spy Flights of the Cold War" Sutton Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-7509-1970-1 pp. 76–83.
  4. ^ Pedlow, Gregory W and Welzenbach, Donald E: "The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954–1974" History Staff Centre for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency p23.
  5. ^ Featured in the 2005 UFO Files documentary episode "Russian Roswell" which aired on the History Channel.
  6. ^ "Становление на родной земле". (in Russian). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. ^ Zak, Anatoly. "Tests of the A-4 rocket in Kapustin Yar". Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  8. ^ "ЯДЕРНЫЕ ИСПЫТАНИЯ В СССР, ТОМ I, глава 3" [Nuclear tests in USSR, Volume I, Chapter 3] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 2006-11-08.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2019-01-03.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2019-01-03.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "ЦЭНКИ – Центр эксплуатации объектов наземной космической инфраструктуры". (in Russian). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  12. ^ "Zavod 88 on Gorodomlya Island; Firing Range for A-4" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. 1953-02-06. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 22, 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  13. ^ Lashmar, Paul: "Spy Flights of the Cold War" Sutton Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-7509-1970-1 pp. 76–83.
  14. ^ Pedlow, Gregory W. and Welzenbach, Donald E.: "The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954–1974 "Central Intelligence Agency p. 23 History Staff Center for the Study of Intelligence.
  15. ^ "Russian Roswell". UFO Phenomenon. August 1, 2009. Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  16. ^ polygon, see d / f "Russian Roswell" from the series 'UFO Files' (2005) of the History Channel

Further reading