The launch of the first ballistic missile at the State Central Test Site Kapustin Yar was a breakthrough into a completely new field of science and technology and marked the beginning of test work on the creation of a nuclear missile shield and the space industry of the USSR.
In May 1946, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, Joseph Stalin, signed a top secret decree on the questions of jet weapons. This document became the starting point for the organization of research and experimental work for the creation of Soviet ballistic missiles. Work on the development of reactive technology was declared the most important state task. Ministries, scientific organizations were required to perform tasks on reactive technology as a priority.
On the basis of the resolution, scientific research institutes and design bureaus were created. The third department of the Scientific Research Institute-88 was headed by Sergey Pavlovich Korolev, he became the chief designer of the product number 1 - this is how the long-range ballistic missile was called.
The construction of a test site for missiles, the formation of a special task brigade of the High Command reserve based on the 92 Guards Mortar Regiment began at an accelerated pace. During the Great Patriotic War, this regiment participated in many operations to defeat the fascists, using combat vehicles BM-13 "Katyusha" rocket artillery.
- Since September 1946, three expeditions have been conducting reconnaissance to select the location of the State Central Test Site for jet technology. A specially created state commission inspected seven possible areas of the landfill site. By March 1947, after an in-depth technical and economic assessment, the commission came to the conclusion that the most optimal two areas for the deployment of the landfill - the village of Naurskaya, Grozny region and the village of Kapustin Yar, Stalingrad region. At the same time, until June 1947, as evidenced by archival documents, preference was given to the village of Naurskaya. In one of the memorandums of the Marshal of Artillery Yakovlev, it was said that the construction of the GCP in the area of the village of Naurskaya makes it possible to lay a test route of up to 3000 kilometers and will ensure the testing of not only long-range missiles, but also all types of land, anti-aircraft and sea missiles. This option will require the least material costs for the resettlement of the local population and the transfer of enterprises to other areas. Only the Minister of Animal Husbandry Kozlov spoke out against the construction of the test site in Naurskaya, motivating his protest by the need to alienate a significant part of the black pasture lands, '' said a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Missile and Artillery Sciences, author of militaryhistorical works on the history of the Strategic Missile Forces Vladimir Ivkin.
In a short time, the engineering troops in the area of the village of Kapustin Yar prepared the minimally necessary facilities for firing bench tests and pilot start-ups, a reinforced concrete stand, a technical position, a launch pad, railway tracks. In order to monitor the missiles in flight, the services of radiolocation, kinotoodolitnaya, aviation observation, meteorological station of the Main Directorate of Hydrometeorological Service, single time service, communications were organized. And by early October 1947, the head of the State Central Test Site, Major General Vasily Voznyuk, reported to the leadership of the Special Committee on Jet Vehicles of the Council of Ministers of the USSR about the readiness of the test site for launching missiles.
- By the first launch of A-4, more than 2200 specialists from twelve different ministries were already working at the test site. The situation was tense. The presence of high ranks, failures in preparation for the launch of the rocket, sleepless nights made themselves felt. In addition, the rocket men felt their complete helplessness before the power of nature. All their labors now depended on the weather. These days, almost all the specialists of the landfill listened keenly to the opinion of weather forecasters - after all, trajectory measurements required clear skies, - said Vladimir Ivkin.
October 18 morning 1947 of the year was clean, sunny and cold. Conditions for the start were perfect. On this day at 10.47 Moscow time, the first launch of a ballistic missile in the USSR was made at the Kapustin Yar test site. The rocket rose to an altitude of 86 km, and collapsed at the entrance to the dense layers of the atmosphere, reached the earth's surface at 274 km from the start with a deviation of 30 km. The launch of the A-4 rocket was the first step towards the creation of a nuclear missile shield and the space industry of the Soviet Union. In the period from October 18 to November 13, 1947, three fire tests were carried out, X-NUMX A-11 missiles were launched, of which 4 reached the target. Based on the experience gained, the government recognized the need to continue further work on the creation of the Soviet P-9 ballistic missile and, in parallel with the creation of this rocket with an 1 – 250 km range, to speed up the development and conduct scientific and experimental work on the P-270 rocket with an 2 km range. and the development of the project rocket P-600 with a range of 3 km. Ivan Fedorovich Shipov participated in the preparation of all these missiles for launch, with which the Red Star correspondent was able to talk to.
October 18 morning 1947 of the year was clean, sunny and cold. The conditions for the start were perfect
In the summer of 1949, Ivan Shipov graduated from the Ryazan Automobile School. The company commander announced that Shipov and nine other graduates were to arrive for further service in Kapustin Yar.
“At that time, Kapustin Yar was not yet known, although the P-1 rocket was already tested at the test site,” recalls retired colonel engineer Ivan Fedorovich Shipov. - However, the closer we approached the landfill, the quieter we talked about it. At the station near Stalingrad I decided to ask the meeting officer about the new duty station, and he replied that now they are talking about Kapustin Yar only in a whisper. Like, come and find out everything.
The terminal station consisted of two freight cars and several houses of station workers. And around - burned steppe. Wind and dust. But there was no time to lose heart. The state central training ground began to expand, and about 100 lieutenants arrived in Kapustin Yar. In 1949, on the site of the town, there were only wooden panel houses, the officers' house - a wooden hut 30 meters in length, the headquarters and the 1 control of the landfill. And ditches were dug in the place of the modern headquarters and houses of officers.
Ivan Fyodorovich was assigned to the position of technician, then he led a platoon of launching missiles. The battery was made up of five platoons and consisted of about 160 people. The battery was located in the dugouts on site No. 2 - the technical position of preparing the rocket for launch.
In the early years of the landfill, servicemen had to live in dugouts, wagons and tents until they built stationary facilities at all sites. Those who worked on the 10 site, where the headquarters and services of the landfill were located, were almost all located in the apartments of the village of Kapustin Yar, the nearest villages and farms.
- Life was not adjusted. We rented a house on the very edge of the village of Kapustin Yar. In the fall, it began to rain, and the roads were kneaded so that they had to cling to the rumps. These roads churned trucks of two construction trucks and our landfill truck, and go to the service site 5 km. And often we spent the night with the soldiers at the place of service. Of course, a good town was built afterwards, ”recalls Ivan Shipov.
The first acquaintance of Ivan Shipov with a ballistic missile took place at a combat training session attended by designers and testers of missiles led by Korolev and a large group of officers from the 1 test control board of the Kapustin Yar test site. They were participants in the first launch of the A-4 rocket. Many of them recently participated in the fierce battles of World War II, represented various types of the Armed Forces.
With the participants of the first launch of a ballistic missile A-4, Ivan Fedorovich met later in the years of service at the test site. He lists dozens of officers and generals by name and patronymic, their achievements during the trials and their further fate.
- Bold, straightforward officers who have passed the Great Patriotic War. They gave us lessons of courage, courage, and instilled a sense of responsibility when conducting hazardous pilot testing, ”Ivan Fedorovich recalls with gratitude. - Why was I sent after the school to the landfill? For six years I worked on the collective farm, the mother of us, the children, had four, the father died at the front. The lessons of hard work gave me a hard work that I kept in the army. perhaps due to diligence it was sent to the Kapustin Yar test site.
Ivan Shipov had at his disposal all the running gears of the service vehicles, fuel tankers, alcohol trucks, oxygen tanks with tractors carrying liquid oxygen from special fuel storage to the launch site up to 30 km. Tank delivery vehicles were at low speeds, the tractor was moving at a speed of 5 km / h. The squad commander rode on a tracked tractor without a cabin in winter. I had to send the car with hot food, tea. And in order not to freeze while driving, drivers jumped off the tractor and walked alongside. There were many difficulties with operation in the winter.
- There were a lot of troubles with liquid oxygen. On the street in summer + 42оС, and the boiling point of oxygen –182оС. It evaporated very intensively, it was necessary to deliver a double, triple supply of liquid oxygen to the starting positions. The rocket for launching in a vertical position was preparing for about 4 hours and in the process of preparation it was constantly fed with liquid oxygen, says Ivan Shipov.
According to Ivan Fedorovich, he left the launch pad a minute before the launch. The operator number one of the bunker gave the command to close the valve, which is located on the rocket. At low temperatures, the hoses and the valve were frosty. The operator pressed the button in the bunker, but on the first attempt he never closed the system of external filling with liquid oxygen.
- The command sounded to strike with a hammer on the valve. The hammer and almost all the tools were made of bronze alloys so that sparks would not appear when striking. I hit the hammer, the valve landed, reported closing, I threw the hose into the car. She was leaving, and I was running to the bunker. After that, the preliminary command to launch the rocket sounded, and the main team was given when the main engine started working, smiles Ivan Fedorovich.
As head of the filling department of the launch team, Ivan Shipov participated in the first test launch of a ballistic missile with a nuclear charge in February 1956 of the year. Of the 18 people of the starting team of the first launch of the P-5M, only Ivan Fedorovich and the commander of the starting team of the P-5М Mikhail Vasilyevich Tereshchenko survive to this day. Co-workers live in Volgograd, often call up and meet.
At the Kapustin Yar range, Ivan Fedorovich Shipov served until 1957, and after graduating from the academy he returned to the service at his native range at the 2 control, where he was engaged in Temp mobile missile systems.
- To replace liquid fuel rockets with components boiling at low temperatures, rockets with high-boiling components with a shorter preparation time for launch were created. Then solid propellants appeared, which became dominant for missiles of all types, said Ivan Shipov. - Progress throughout our generation has been colossal. Starting from a large number of manual labor with the participation of combat calculations to the automated preparation of the rocket for launch.