Cosmodrome measuring systems

Cosmodrome measuring systems

Adjusting mast of the Vega system, Mirny



The experimental trajectory of carrier rockets and strategic ballistic missiles of the Topol-M, Bulava, Albatross and others types was determined using the ground command and measurement complex of the cosmodrome (KIK). The composition of the KIK includes measuring points (IP) located throughout the territory of the former USSR.


Cosmodrome command and measurement complexes

For trajectory measurements on the IPs there were various measuring systems (IP). One IP was located on one IP

Classification of measuring systems and tools


These IPs were divided into types in accordance with physical features and the principle of measurements. ICs for signal pretreatment, antenna control, and control during flight tests were equipped with one or more computers. For example, such ISs as Vega-NO (KO) and Katafot had their own local area networks. Measuring systems have an external interface for outputting information to a telephone or telegraph communication line. The issuance of information in the communication line was carried out using various protocols, frames of measuring, service, signal and other information, in different encodings due to the fact that there was no specific standard for measuring means.

Vega radio system: the most accurate


The most accurate measuring system was the Vega radio system. Vega operates on the basis of the Doppler principle, measuring the phase difference of the radio signal from the onboard transceiver received by different terrestrial antennas spaced a long distance when receiving radio signals from a transceiver located on board the rocket. The capture of a missile and its management is carried out by a direction finder.


Chief Designer of the Vega system German Alekseevich Baranovsky [1]



The main characteristics of the measuring system "Vega-NO (KO)" [2]

The Vega system is a grandiose engineering construction, the creation of which proved to be unattainable for financial expenses for the richest country in the world - the United States of America. Only the Soviet Union was able to create such a system of trajectory measurements.

Here are some photos of this system that will give a general idea of ​​the grandeur of the plan, embodied in reality by the staff of the Kharkov Research Institute of Radio Engineering Measurements.


IS Vega of the Baikonur Cosmodrome



Central adjustment mast of the Vega system, Norilsk



The central building (technical position) of the Vega system (Norilsk) from a bird's eye view and in the distance the Small Cross of the Vega system (Norilsk)



Adjusting mast and a small cross of the Vega system, Norilsk



Technical position of the Vega system in winter (Norilsk)





The Vega system, Norilsk. A staircase through a cable corridor is provided to understand the scale of the structure. Staircase through cable corridor in summer and winter



Norilsk Vega on Google Map. Small cross and technical position. Remote outposts did not hit due to the large scale of the map [3]



The general view of the topology of the Vega system can be seen entirely only from space. The city of Norilsk. Small cross and technical position are hidden behind lilac lines [4]



Vega system Vorkuta in summer



The hardware room of the Vega system







Direction finder, EC-1045 computer, Vega magnetic tape drives

After the upgrade, the Vega system was equipped with several IBM-compatible computers running the QNX operating system, kindly provided by the Russian foreign intelligence.


"Vega" of Russia


A significant role in trajectory measurements was performed by the Kama radar station (radar). The Kama system is produced in different versions, the most common are Kama-A and Kama-N [5]. The Kama radar is used both as a part of measuring complexes and in autonomous operation. “Kama-A” and “Kama-N” are distinguished by the time of their entry into the troops. Kama-A uses a telegraph communication line, while Kama-N uses a telephone line. The work is done by the airborne transponder. If the Vega on-board transponder occupies a volume of 2 liters, then the Kama has significantly less. However, the accuracy of the Kama radar is lower. As a rule, the Kama radar operates on space rocket carriers, and the Vega on strategic missiles.


Antenna radar "Kama-A"



Radio equipment radar "Kama-N"


Optical measuring systems are cinema theodolites and cinema telescopes, ballistic cameras, etc., which are widely used in conducting external trajectory measurements. Optical systems began to be used for this purpose much earlier than radio systems. The high-precision optical-electronic theodolite system (OES) “Viola” (1977–1988) is designed to measure the spatial coordinates of rockets during various flight experiments. OES "Viola" contains from three to six theodolite stations, combined into a single measuring complex command station. The main measuring channel of the theodolite station is a movie channel with a survey frequency of 1; 5; 10; 25 Hz. Range of action of a laser range finder - 25000 m; the measurement error of the “Viola” UES is: by angular measurements - 5 angle / s, by range - 1 m.


OES "Viola"

There are other ECOs, for example:

1) a mobile infrared theodolite "Velor-M" of the tracking type, refers to short-range devices and allows you to automatically monitor and measure the angular coordinates of luminous objects at short range;

2) infrared theodolite "Velor-IT". Designed to determine the motion parameters of rockets by measuring the angular coordinates of an object from its thermal radiation, as well as monitoring the object through a television system;

3) the cinema theodism "Wismutin", designed to measure the angular coordinates of missiles; The film theodolite is equipped with a movie camera, an infrared coordinator, automatic and semi-automatic guidance systems, automatic focusing, and automatic exposure control.

Test intensity


The intensity of tests in the USSR was such that almost every week a test launch of a rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome was carried out. Here is what the Deputy Commander for Measurements of the Vega Norilsk Radio Engineering System, Major Rodin Yuri Anatolyevich, recalls the number of tests.

“In the period from 1986 to 1991, the Vega system took an active part in testing promising missile systems and confirming the characteristics of equipment already adopted for service. There have been cases when one experimental work took place on one day. Sessions took place at that time mainly at night ”[6].


Deputy Measurement Commander of the Vega Norilsk Radio Engineering System Major Yuri Anatolyevich Rodin


The high intensity of tests of strategic launch vehicles and ballistic missiles required the creation of such an information system that would make it possible to collect trajectory information, increase the efficiency of test preparation, and also manage heterogeneous measuring systems deployed throughout the USSR. Such information systems were created at the Kharkov Research Institute of Radio Engineering Measurements (NIIRI). But this is completely different история.

Sources of
1. https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baranovsky ,_German_Alekseevich.
2. Radio-technical multi-parameter systems of high-precision measurements of the parameters of the trajectory of moving objects // http://www.niiri.com.ua/Rus/rmsvi_nv.htm.
3. The "Vega" of Norilsk on the map // https://www.google.com/maps/@69.4049632,87.6359006,1553m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en-RU.
4. General view of the topology of the Vega system // https://kik-sssr.ru/Vega_2.htm.
5. The radar station "Kama-N" // https://pohnews.org/15618-radiolokacionnaya-stanciya-kama-n.
6. The Northern Cosmodrome of Russia. Volume 1 / Under the general editorship of the chief of the Plesetsk cosmodrome, candidate of technical sciences, Lieutenant General A. A. Bashlakov. Cosmodrome Plesetsk, 2007.S. 462.
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  1. Vladimir_2U 15 January 2020 10: 05 New
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    Exactly the place of the article is not in the section "Armament"?
    1. vvvjak 15 January 2020 10: 27 New
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      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      Exactly the place of the article is not in the section "Armament"?

      I don’t know about you, I have it in the "Opinions" section. I liked the article, the photos are also impressive.
      1. Vladimir_2U 15 January 2020 10: 31 New
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        Quote: vvvjak
        I liked the article
        The same thing, I join, but usually articles of this kind are placed in the Armament section.
  2. Vladimir_2U 15 January 2020 10: 08 New
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    After the upgrade, the Vega system was equipped with several IBM-compatible computers running the QNX operating system, kindly provided by the Russian foreign intelligence.
    Is it really tsarist Russia? The USSR was then! Him and SVR!
    1. v_bueff 15 January 2020 10: 19 New
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      Already Russia.
      1. Vladimir_2U 15 January 2020 10: 28 New
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        The year of modernization is not specified, but:
        In the mid-1980s, QNX2 was released. Due to its reliability, the system had an enviable reputation and was widely used to control industrial machines. QNX2 and now sometimes used in critical systems
        And in the mid-80s there was still the USSR.
        1. Andrey30 15 January 2020 20: 54 New
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          The Vega-N radio system has been upgraded several times. When we talk about the QNX operating system, the peak of this upgrade came in 1993. Prior to this modernization, Vega-N used an EC-1045 computer. Here is a photo of the EU-1045 with Vega-N:
    2. Butchcassidy 15 January 2020 10: 53 New
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      After the upgrade, the Vega system was equipped with several IBM-compatible PCs running the operating systems QNX, kindly provided foreign intelligence of Russia.


      I love such offers ...))
  3. Same lech 15 January 2020 10: 17 New
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    Thanks to the author for the article ... a new and unstudied topic for me ... I would have to delve into it. hi
    1. Andrey30 15 January 2020 20: 51 New
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      Thank you, I am glad that I liked the article. This is my first article and it is introductory. It tried to show the measuring systems used in the USSR and inherited by Russia. It will be more interesting further.
  4. Doctor 15 January 2020 11: 03 New
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    Much has changed since then. The work of the battalion squad is now carried out by a small group with a dozen suitcases from anywhere in the country, including on the move, officer dormitories are located in buildings with antennas at the top, and on May 1 friendly officer families go to fry kebabs directly on the antenna fields. tongue
  5. Andrey30 15 January 2020 20: 44 New
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    I would like to insert another photograph of the Vega-N system hardware room into the article:
  6. Andrey30 15 January 2020 20: 45 New
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    Personally, I like the photo "Vegi-N" of the city of Norilsk:
  7. bubalik 15 January 2020 21: 03 New
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    Interestingly yes It seems that this topic has not been raised in VO good
  8. Tests 15 January 2020 21: 42 New
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    The Vega-KO in Severodvinsk was built primarily for measurements in the interests of the USSR Navy (Nenoks training ground), both from the test shore from sites and from the nuclear submarines at sea (it is blue on the map). Obeyed in \ h 09703, the uniform of all who served there was marine. There were many graduates of Popovka and Kaliningraders .. In the late 80s and in Vorkuta, they went on a Vega in marine uniform.
    In the early 80s, as it was built, a bulldozer was drowned in a swamp by a builder. The place was chosen on a riding bog with huge "windows" of a peat bog, and a little to the east, just where the cables on fiberboard 5 (9 km of the Korodsky Highway) were pulled - generally lakes and lakes among the bog. Although there are sand, pine trees and magnificent white summer, chanterelles, red-headed boletus, nearby on the bank of the Shirshima river, there were a recreation center of workshop 20 SEVMASH in the 60-90s ....
    Since the Polygon in Nyonoks of the Belomorsk naval base did not obey, a tragedy occurred in the early 90s. In Nyonoks 2 sailors with weapons fled from the guard company. With “Vega” a cap-lei was detached with two sailors to catch fugitives. They sat down with machine guns at the junction of the Kudemsk railway station of the Severodvinsk timber industry enterprise and the Onega tract. But the city was already "on the ears", one of the summer residents, passing by car, saw the sailors with machine guns, but the officer did not. I called the police. Police contacted the commandant’s office. They say that they didn’t put up a barrier there, we blocked only bridges across the Solza River and the railway, and the highway on the Onega highway. The clever commanders of Vega and Polygon decided to notify the commandant's office. They are directly subordinate to Moscow! The police gathered a capture group from the criminal investigation department and the teaching staff. Bottom line: one sailor had a bruise on the floor, the second scrotum was repulsed, and a drop was shot from the PM when he reached for an automaton that was leaning against a pine ... Runaway sailors a few kilometers from Nenoksa in a fishing hut in the morning, sleeping, quietly, without firing, the district inspector Nenoksy took over (he served urgently in the Airborne Forces) and the operas of the special department that Nenoksu served ...
    Here is the year when Severodvinsk was transferred to Vega-KO under Mirny’s command (under the Plesetsk cosmodrome) I don’t remember the Strategic Rocket Forces.
    For several years, Vega was quietly dying, since new measuring instruments appeared. About 4 years ago, her entire territory was betrayed to the city. The cables from the fiberboard were uprooted for a long time, the antennas from the fiberboard were removed, on the Vega itself last year all the masts were cut to scrap. Some of the buildings survived, young people from military-patriotic clubs "fought" there both in summer and in winter, they say, the helipad is intact. But the water treatment and sewage treatment plants were killed in the 00s. At the end of last year, an advertisement about the sale of land on Vega under IZHS was fun throughout the city. On Yandex “Vega-KO” cards in the “Hybrid” mode, next to SNT “Volna” you can also see all 4 fiberboards - you can see the cable tracks in the swamp for 50 more years.
  9. Andrey30 15 January 2020 21: 43 New
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    And this is a photo from the book "108 minutes that changed the world" by Anton Pervushin. This is the training ground where the strategic ballistic missile warheads fall:
  10. Andrey30 15 January 2020 21: 55 New
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    In this book “108 minutes that changed the world” by Anton Pervushin we can see a photo of the optical medium:


  11. Andrey30 15 January 2020 22: 23 New
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    Direction finder "Vega-N", Norilsk:
  12. The comment was deleted.
  13. AAV
    AAV 19 January 2020 22: 41 New
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    Interesting article. Thanks to the author!
    “Vega” was seen at the Kapustin Yar training ground during business trips.
    I am somewhat more familiar with theodolite technician since worked at the enterprise
    where did the "Viola" and "Bismutin" mentioned by the author.
    In the trajectory measurements, the FRS-2 ​​"Woodpecker" photo-recording station was also used. The station consisted of two cameras with a shooting speed of up to 16 frames per second.