Military Review

Space intelligence.Soviet and Russian spy satellites

In 1955-1956, spy satellites began to be actively developed in the USSR and the USA. In the USA it was a series of Korona apparatuses, and in the USSR a series of Zenit apparatuses. Space reconnaissance of the first generation (American Corona and Soviet Zenith) carried out photographing, and then released containers with the captured film, which descended to the ground. Corona capsules were picked up in the air while parachuting. Later spacecraft were equipped with photo and television systems and transmitted images using encrypted radio signals.

16 March 1955, the US Air Force officially ordered the development of an advanced reconnaissance satellite to provide continuous monitoring of the 'pre-selected areas of the Earth' to determine the readiness for war of a potential enemy.

28 February The first photo-reconnaissance satellite created using the CORONA program (the open name Discoverer) was launched in the USA. He was supposed to conduct reconnaissance above all over the USSR and China. Photos taken by his equipment, developed by Itek, were returned to Earth in a descent capsule.

The reconnaissance equipment was first sent into space in the summer of 1959 of the year by the fourth unit of the series, and the first successful return of the capsule with the captured film was made from the Discoverer 14 satellite in August of 1960.

Space intelligence.Soviet and Russian spy satellites

The first spy satellite "Crown".

22 on May 1959 of the year was issued Resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers No. 569-264 on the creation of the first Soviet reconnaissance satellite 2К (Zenit) and, based on it, the Vostok manned vehicle (1К). In 1960, the Krasnogorsk Mechanical Plant began designing the “Fluorine-2” equipment for survey-cartographic and detailed photography. Serial production of this photographic began in the year 1962. At the beginning of 1964, by order of the USSR Minister of Defense No. 0045, the Zenit-2 survey photointelligence complex was put into service. All spy satellites launched under the ordinal names "Cosmos". Over the 33-year period, more than five hundred Zenits were launched, making it the most numerous type of satellite of this class in stories space flight.

Satellite - spy "Zenith". In 1956, the Soviet government issued a secret decree on the development of the “Object D” program, which led to the launch of the Satellite-3 and Satellite-1 (PS-1) programs and is a greatly simplified secondary version of the Object D. The text of the decree is still a state secret, but apparently it was this decree that led to the creation of another satellite - “Object OD-1”, which was to be used for photographing from space.

By 1958, OKB-1 simultaneously worked on the construction of the OD-1 and OD-2 objects, which led to the creation of the first manned spacecraft Vostok. By April 1960, the conceptual design of the Vostok-1 spacecraft, developed as an experimental device, was developed to test the design and create on its basis the Vostok-2 reconnaissance satellite and the Vostok-3 manned spacecraft. The order of creation and launch dates of satellite ships was determined by a resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU No. 587 — 238 “On the space exploration plan” of 4 June 1960. All ships of this type had the name "Vostok", but after it became known in 1961 year as the name of the spacecraft Yuri Gagarin, the reconnaissance satellite "Vostok-2" was renamed "Zenit-2", and the series of spacecraft of this type called "Zenith".

The descent vehicle of the Zenit 2 spacecraft.

The first launch of “Zenith” took place on December 11 1961, but due to an error in the third stage of the rocket, the ship was destroyed by exploding. The second attempt of 26 on April 1962 was successful and the device received the designation Cosmos-4. However, a failure in the orientation system did not give the first results from the satellite. The third Zenith (Cosmos-7) was launched on July 28 1962 of the year and successfully returned with photos eleven days later. The 13 launches of the Zenit-2 spacecraft were conducted, of which 3 ended up with a launch vehicle crash. In total, the launch of the Zenit-2 spacecraft was carried out 81 times as part of its normal operation (7 launches ended in a launch vehicle crash on the active site). In 1964, the Order of the USSR Ministry of Defense was adopted by the Soviet Army. Serial production was organized at TsSKB-Progress in Kuibyshev. Since 1968, a gradual transition to the upgraded Zenit-2М satellite began, and the number of launches of the Zenith-2 began to decline.
A total of 8 modifications were developed for vehicles of this type and reconnaissance flights continued until the 1994 year.

The assembly of the satellite Cosmos-4.

In 1964, the OKB-1, S. P. Korolev, was assigned to improve the performance of Zenit-2 reconnaissance satellites. The studies were carried out in three directions: the modernization of the Zenit satellites, the development of the manned reconnaissance ship Soyuz-R and the creation of a new reconnaissance automatic spacecraft based on the design of the Soyuz-R. The third direction received the designation "Amber".

"Amber" - a family of Russian (formerly - Soviet) specialized species reconnaissance satellites, developed in addition to, and then replacing the reconnaissance vehicles of the Zenit series.

The artificial satellite Cosmos-2175 of the Yantar-4K2 type, or Cobalt, became the first spacecraft launched by Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The precision optics installed on the satellite allows you to capture details of the earth surface up to 30 in the satellite. See the images taken to Earth in special capsules, which after landing will be delivered for processing to the Center for Space Intelligence. It takes about a month between the photography and the descent of the capsule, which significantly reduces the value of the images, in contrast to the Persona spacecraft, which transmits information via a radio channel.

Yantar-Terylene (launched from 28.12.1982goda) became the first Russian digital intelligence platform transmitting the collected data via streaming satellites to the ground station in near real-time mode. In addition, the Yantar series devices became the base for the development of later Orlets and Persona reconnaissance satellites and Resurs-DK, a civilian remote sensing satellite.

Yantar-4K2 or Cobalt.

In total, the 174 satellite of the “amber” series was launched, nine of them were lost in emergency launches. The most recent spacecraft of the series was the Yantar-2480K4М or Cobalt-M type photo-reconnaissance satellite, launched into the 2 orbit on May 17. All vehicles of the series were launched using the Soyuz-U launch vehicle, and the launch of Kosmos-2012 was announced as the last launch of this type of launch vehicle. In the future, it is planned to use the Soyuz-2480 launch vehicle to put satellites of the Yantar family into orbit.

"A person" - the third-generation Russian military optical reconnaissance satellite, designed to receive high-resolution images and promptly transmit them to Earth via radio. A new type of satellites was developed and manufactured at the Samara Rocket and Space Center TsSKB-Progress, while the optical system is manufactured at the St. Petersburg optical-mechanical association LOMO. The satellite was ordered by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU GS) of the Russian Armed Forces. The spacecraft replaced the previous generation of Neman satellites (Yantar 4X1m).
The competition for the creation of a new satellite of optical-electronic intelligence "Person" of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation was held in 2000 year. The projects of TsSKB-Progress and the NGO named after S. A. Lavochkin were reviewed. The TsSKB-Progress project was a modification of the previous generation Neman satellite. In addition, he inherited a lot from the civilian Resurs-DK satellite. The competing project of the S. A. Lavochkin NPO was also an advanced satellite of the previous generation “Araks”. After winning the Persona project competition, the launch of the first spacecraft was planned for the 2005 year, but due to the delay in ground tests, it was launched only in the 2008 year. The cost of creating the first satellite is estimated at 5 billion rubles. The launch of the second Persona unit is scheduled for March 2013.

The idea of ​​the overall dimensions of the Persona spacecraft.
Don (Orlets-1) - code name of a series of Russian satellites of broadband detailed and survey photointelligence. The resolution of the obtained images - 0.95 m per point.

The development of the device began in April at 1979 at the TsSKB-Progress State Rocket and Space Center. The first satellite launch took place on 18 on July 1989, and it was put into operation on 25 on August 1992.
For prompt delivery of the captured film to the ground on the machine, there is a drum with eight returned capsules. After the photo is taken, the film is loaded into the capsule, it is separated from the apparatus and makes a descent and landing in a given area.

During the period of 1989 — 1993, regular annual launches of “Don” were held, the average operating time was about 60 days. In the interval 1993 — 2003 only one device was launched — on 1997 — and it worked in orbit twice as long as the previous devices — 126 days. The next launch took place in August 2003. After launching the satellite, it received the designation "Cosmos-2399". The latest launch of the Don satellite was 14 September 2006 of the year under the designation Cosmos-2423.

Manned space stations of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR.

"Almaz" (OPS) - a series of orbital stations developed by TsKBM for the tasks of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR. The stations were injected into orbit using a Proton launch vehicle. Transport service of the station was assumed both by the spacecraft TKS, developed by the same program "Almaz", and previously developed by "Soyuz". Stations for manned operation received the name "Salute", adjacent to civilian stations DOS. All in all, the 5 stations Almaz —OPS - manned Salyut-2, Salyut-3, Salyut-5, as well as automatic modifications of Cosmos-1870 and Almaz-1 were launched.

Orbital Piloted Station "Almaz".

Work on the creation of the station began in the middle of the 60-ies, during the years of tough confrontation with the United States. The Almaz station was developed at OKB-52 under the direction of V.N. Chelomey for solving the same tasks as the American station MOL (Manned Orbiting Laboratory) developed at that time - conducting photographic and radio reconnaissance and control from orbit by ground military means, for which the station was equipped with a telescope-camera "Agat-1", as well as a whole complex of long-focus cameras for shooting the Earth with a total number of 14 units.

For protection from satellite inspectors and interceptors of a potential enemy, as well as in view of the possible use of space shuttles to abduct Soviet DOS (long-lived manned stations) Salyut and OPS (orbital manned stations) Almaz, from the Earth orbit, as the first stage It was equipped with a modified HP-23 automatic cannon designed by Nudelman - Richter (Shield-1 system), which later, at the first station of Almaz of the second generation, was to replace the Shield-2 system consisting s two space rockets. (According to some sources, the Shield-5 system was installed at Salyut-2, with two space-to-space rockets). The assumption of “abductions” was based solely on the cargo compartment openly declared by the American developers of the shuttles and the mass of the returned payload of the shuttles, which are close to those of the “Diamonds”.

The initial design of the station "Almaz" with two descent vehicles TKS

It was supposed to move to the Almaz station of the second generation in the variants with the second docking station or the return vehicle from the TKS. However, work on the manned stations "Almaz" were discontinued in 1978 year. TsKBM continued to develop an OPS station in an unmanned version for the Almaz-T spaceborne radar remote sensing system.
The automatic station OPS-1981, prepared for launch in 4, lay in one of the workshops of the assembly and test building of the Baikonur cosmodrome for several years due to delays not related to the work of the OPS. October 19 1986 of the year an attempt was made to launch this station, called Almaz-T, which was unsuccessful due to the failure of the Proton control system.

Section of the station "Almaz"

18 July 1987, the successful launch of the automatic version of the OPS "Almaz", which received the designation "Cosmos-1870". High-quality radar images of the Earth’s surface from a satellite were used in the interests of the defense and economy of the USSR.
31 March 1991, a modified automatic version of the OPS with significantly improved on-board equipment was put into orbit called "Almaz-1".
The automatic Almaz-2 OPS with further modification of the onboard equipment into orbit was not withdrawn due to the difficult state of the economy after the collapse of the USSR and the work stopping.

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  1. Tartary
    Tartary 6 January 2014 11: 27
    Who will answer for the MIR station in the end?
    1. Aryan
      Aryan 7 January 2014 14: 41
      sad and we were taught at school
      what to write off is not good
    2. The comment was deleted.
  2. Takashi
    Takashi 6 January 2014 12: 21
    article +! But! I would like more to why write in style - essay.
  3. makarov
    makarov 6 January 2014 12: 27
    Once again described confirms the strength and power of the USSR
    1. The comment was deleted.
  4. washi
    washi 6 January 2014 18: 44
    Will the sequel follow?
    In the late 90s, the Chinese were ahead of us and the Amers (the intelligentsia is cheap).
  5. roller2
    6 January 2014 19: 15
    In the sequel will be the Americans satellites, as the drawback of all of the above is that the pictures were taken on film and descended in a capsule. What made such intelligence well is not very operational.
  6. La-5
    La-5 6 January 2014 21: 57
    Thank you very much, we are waiting for the continuation.
  7. Fedya
    Fedya 6 January 2014 23: 40
    I remember the box telling how Asian shepherds discovered an American capsule with a film, and not knowing what it was they thought of using it as a decoration material for a local toilet! When the KGB officers found out about the profit, they checked out the ingenuity of shepherds, but alas, the film was illuminated.
  8. Bongo
    Bongo 7 January 2014 08: 32
    It would be interesting to stave the characteristics and capabilities of the American KN-11 with domestic devices.
    1. Rus2012
      Rus2012 7 January 2014 22: 48
      Quote: Bongo
      It would be interesting to stave the characteristics and capabilities of the American KN-11 with domestic devices.

      here -
      details about the systems.
      Here -
      High-resolution space survey systems.

      Experts say that the resolution of our optical systems on spacecraft during the USSR was not worse, and sometimes even better than the Yankees.

      In the table. TTX KA of adversaries
      1. Bongo
        Bongo 8 January 2014 13: 29
        I fully admit that the quality of photographs obtained from our intelligence missions could be better. But KH-11 was a real breakthrough, images from it were transmitted via radio, in very good resolution. And the number of these devices was very significant.
        And we still use film capsules.
        1. zyablik.olga
          zyablik.olga 9 January 2014 03: 39
          And how can you compare reconnaissance satellites working in real time and transmitting images by radio, and satellites where the photos are recorded on film and dropped after a considerable time in capsules? Let the resolution of the latter more. In addition, it is no secret that due to the low radiation resistance of domestic electronics, the service life of our satellites is less.
  9. Dimy4
    Dimy4 7 January 2014 12: 41
    The question is rhetorical, but still interesting, could tsarist Russia praised by liberals be able to create such a technique? The answer seems obvious to me - NO!
  10. svp67
    svp67 7 January 2014 12: 47
    One of the returning Cosmos? I wonder how many secrets he brought in himself?
    1. Alex 241
      Alex 241 8 January 2014 22: 22
      Film reel, next to it - a container burned during descent into the atmosphere to deliver captured films to the Earth
  11. Ukrainaz
    Ukrainaz 7 January 2014 20: 12
    Quote: Dimy4
    The question is rhetorical, but still interesting, could tsarist Russia praised by liberals be able to create such a technique? The answer seems obvious to me - NO!

    Well, I think in 1913. Tsarist Russia could not create such a technique. Your truth, Dimy4!
    1. creak
      creak 7 January 2014 20: 39
      True, she could not have produced a spacecraft, but during this period it was the only country in the world where, for example, serial four-engined bombers "Ilya Muromets" and the world's best destroyers of the "Novik" type were produced. And by the way, Napoleon was also defeated by Tsarist Russia, her heroic army, stop belittling your country and portraying it as downtrodden and bastard, respect her past, which had everything, as in the history of many other states ...
    2. The comment was deleted.
  12. Zomanus
    Zomanus 8 January 2014 09: 04
    Interestingly, we still use reconnaissance satellites using photographic film? And it is also interesting which capsules with a film are shot into the territory of which countries. It’s ridiculous. if in the Baikonur region.
    1. Know-nothing
      Know-nothing 8 January 2014 09: 08
      Quote: Zomanus
      Interestingly, we still use reconnaissance satellites using photographic film?

  13. atalef
    atalef 8 January 2014 14: 02
    On July 18 of 1987, the automatic launch of the Almaz FSA was successfully launched, which received the designation Cosmos-1870. High-quality satellite radar images of the earth’s surface were used in the interests of the defense and economy of the USSR]

    Almost the entire service 88-90, daily worked in Diamond. CDKS - Evpatoria -19. The largest KIK (command-measuring complex) of the Military Space Forces. Including both the largest rotary antenna in the world and the landing strip for Buran.
    Nothing left . everything is looted and ruined. Ukraine apparently does not need.
    1. Alex 241
      Alex 241 8 January 2014 22: 06
      . Orbital interceptor "Soyuz-PPK" (1964) center][/ center] [centerOrbital interceptor 7K-P (1964)[/ center] In 1964, branch No. 3 of OKB-1 of the Kuybyshev plant “Progress”, under the leadership of lead designer Dmitry Kozlov, began developing the first-ever manned orbital interceptor “Soyuz-P” (7K-P).
      As you might guess, the design of this ship was based on the usual “Soyuz” (7K) with minor modifications. There was no armament on the interceptor, since the main task of the crew was to inspect space objects, and above all, American satellites. For this, the crew of the Soyuz had to go into outer space and disable the enemy ship, or place it in a special container and send it to Earth. However, very soon they refused such a decision - at that time all Soviet satellites were equipped with an undermining system, which was also expected from the Americans.

      Military modifications of the Soyuz spacecraft (from left to right): Soyuz-P, Soyuz-PPK, Soyuz-R, Soyuz-VI, Soyuz-VI / OIS

      So, Soyuz-P was replaced by the project of a full-fledged Soyuz-PPK combat ship, equipped with eight small missiles located in the bow - now it was only about destroying the enemy satellite. The length of Soyuz-PPK was 6,5 m, the maximum diameter was 2,7 m, and the habitable volume was 13 sq.m. (designed for 2 cosmonauts), gross weight - 6,7 tons.
      In addition, by resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the Council of Ministers of the USSR of August 24, 1965, branch No. 3 was entrusted with the creation of an orbital reconnaissance unit, called “Soyuz-VI” (High-altitude researcher, also known as 7K-VI and “Star”). As a basis, the 7K-OK spacecraft was still taken, but with a completely different “stuffing”. A scout had to conduct photo reconnaissance, visual observation and, if necessary, destroy enemy ships. Also explored version of the scout Soyuz-R.
      1. Alex 241
        Alex 241 8 January 2014 22: 09
        Orbital high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft "Soyuz-VI" in the assembly shop, 1967 center][/ Center]
        Due to delays due to failures in the Soyuz flight test program, these plans had to be postponed to 1967, but by this time the project had been revised. A new 7K-VI orbital reconnaissance vehicle with a crew of 2 would have a total mass of 6600 kg, but the launch vehicle could only put 6300 kg of payload into orbit. This led to the appearance of the project of the modernized Soyuz-M rocket (11A511M). The final version of the Soyuz-VI manned complex was approved in a decree of June 21, 1967, and the first flight was approved at the end of 1968 - the beginning of 1969.
        1. Alex 241
          Alex 241 8 January 2014 22: 12
          1. Alex 241
            Alex 241 8 January 2014 22: 31
            Secret Projects 3/8 Passion Around Diamond
  14. Jager
    Jager 8 January 2014 22: 57
    Guys, you can throw tomatoes and stools at me, BUT. I stubbornly cannot understand why the USSR launched satellites, built orbital complexes, ultra-modern vehicles, but could not create a normal car ...
    1. Firstvanguard
      Firstvanguard 9 January 2014 08: 00
      Firstly, I couldn’t be alone.
      Secondly, 80% of the state’s resources worked for the defense industry and this was a necessity. Their resources, not looted as 3,14ndostan.
      Thirdly, because after the death (murder?) Of Joseph Vissarionovich and the arrival of the nykyty parish, the state began to bend, only a huge backlog created before that made it possible to reach the 90s.
      Something like this.
      1. Dimy4
        Dimy4 9 January 2014 18: 21
        For example, I liked the answer to this question by the leading automotive column of Channel 2 I. Zenkevich, when he talked about the missile systems - "we probably couldn't have survived otherwise." I think he's right.
      2. Jager
        Jager 9 January 2014 20: 46
        Show at least one normal for an average resident of the Union (ZIL and other "Seagulls" do not count). In addition, a car is not a rocket complex; it does not require a hundred research institutes and a couple of thousand supplier factories to create it.
        1. Rogneda
          Rogneda 15 January 2014 11: 58
          At that time, `` people without cars '' moved around the country very successfully, despite its enormous size, and almost everyone (everyone who worked) could afford it. During Stalin, after the war, in addition to the restoration of destroyed cities and industry, to raise the country 'all the same and paid attention to the auto industry.
          Have you lived and seen Soviet-made cars 'what years? And what do you know about the Soviet author? Look in Google's search for queries like "victory of the Soviet car industry" Your very inappropriate question will disappear by itself'
  15. CheByrashka
    CheByrashka 22 October 2014 23: 13
    We have something to be proud of! Today, on Vesti FM radio, I heard about the latest development. For 6 months, our satellite has been successfully operating in space. Which has no analogues in the world! And they will not appear soon. They said that the satellite has a new type of engine. And the rest is STATE SECRET! I have not heard this for a long time. We live in a resurgent Russia, thanks to GDP. soldier