Military Review

Spy satellite hunters

Spy satellite hunters

In Karachay-Cherkessia, in the vicinity of Mount Chapal, at a height of 2200 meters above sea level, there is a unique military facility - the Krona radio-optical space object recognition complex.

With it, the Russian military control the near and far space. 10 July "Crone" turned 35 years. The RG journalist visited a specific military unit and learned how hunters of spy satellites serve.

Edge of flying dogs

According to the official address, “Krona” is located in the stanitsa of Storozheva-2, but neither on paper nor on electronic maps did such a settlement appear. For all search queries, the navigator showed only one small stanitsa, the Watchtower, lost in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains. And in the village itself, in order to find out the road to the “Krone”, I had to take a “tongue”. As guides, the villagers and children called the bridge, the store, the abandoned sheds, and to the question whether it was far from the part, as if by agreement, they answered: "Yes, there are side by side."

The military observatory is located on top of Mount Chapal. The military site for astronomical observations is called the "edge of flying dogs." This is not a metaphor, but a testimony of the strength of the winds on Chapala. The officers say that once during the construction of the telescope a local dog blew here by the wind. They brought a few more, but all of them claimed. Perhaps this is an army bike, but the name stuck.

- The winds here are really very strong, but the days and nights are clear all year round. It is the features of the atmosphere that became the decisive factor in choosing the location of the “Krona”, - Major Sergey Nesterenko told me the deputy commander of the unit.

The construction of the complex began at the height of the Cold War, in 1979. Then the arms race went into outer space: 3 thousands of artificial satellites revolved around the Earth. In addition, it was necessary to monitor the flights of a probable enemy ballistic missiles. Under the guidance of Vladimir Sosulnikov, Doctor of Technical Sciences, Soviet scientists have developed a complex that combines a radar station and an optical telescope. This design would allow to obtain maximum information about the passing satellites. Before the collapse of the USSR, Krona planned to use MiG-31D fighter-interceptors, which were intended for the destruction of satellites in near-earth orbit. After the 1991 events, space fighter trials ceased.

Construction and commissioning of all facilities of the complex stretched out for many years. The officers of the Aerospace Defense Forces who are carrying on the service complex say that military builders accomplished a feat when 350 km of power lines were stretched in the mountains, 40 thousand concrete slabs were laid, 60 km of water pipes were laid. Although the main work was completed in 1984, the system was put into trial operation in November 1999 due to financial difficulties. Adjustment of the equipment continued for several more years, and only in 2005, the “Krona” was put on combat duty. But the trials and modernization of the pearl complex - a laser optical locator - continues to this day.

Space junkies

- At the top of Mount Chapal are optical systems, and below - radar. The uniqueness of Krona is that there is no other object in which the capabilities of optical and radar facilities are concentrated in Russia, explained Major Nesterenko.

The control of outer space begins with the observation of the sky hemisphere, the detection of space objects and the determination of their trajectory. Then they are photographed, which allows you to determine the appearance and motion parameters. The next stage of control is the determination of the reflective characteristics of a space object. And as a result - its recognition, identification of an accessory, appointment and technical characteristics.

The main instrument - an optical telescope - is located in one of the buildings in the tower with a white dome opening for the duration of its work.

“It is this telescope that, working as part of an optical-electronic system, allows obtaining images of space objects in reflected sunlight at a distance of up to 40 thousand km. Simply put, we see all the objects, including diameters up to 10 cm, in near and far space, ”said Major Alexander Lelekov, commander of the duty crew. - After computer processing, the data goes to the Space Control Center in the Moscow region. There they are processed and entered into the Main Catalog of Space Objects. Now only Americans have the opportunity to compile such an information base, which, in accordance with international treaties, regularly exchange this information. According to recent data, around the Earth 10 thousands of space objects rotate, including operating domestic and foreign satellites. Separate category - space debris. According to various estimates, up to 100 thousands of pieces of debris are in orbit.

- What are they dangerous?

- First of all, uncontrollability. Collision with them can lead to disruption of communication, navigation, as well as to man-made accidents and catastrophes. For example, a small fragment of the size of 1 cm can destroy any satellite or even an orbital station of the ISS type. But it is in space. And the possible consequences associated with the fall of space objects on Earth. For example: once a week an object larger than 1 meter goes off the orbit. And our task is to foresee such a situation, to determine with what degree of probability it will occur, where, in which area there will be a fall.

UFO is not familiar

Accompanied by officers I pass to the holy of holies - the command post of the unit. I am immediately warned that photography is limited here. Categorically you can not remove the jobs of duty.

Everywhere impeccable cleanliness. Unlike modern films, where the military or scientists have a mass of all kinds of equipment and computers, the interior here is spartan and more closely resembles the 1980's. Karelian birch panels, bedside tables, desks, desk lamps, phones with a circular dial. On the walls - homemade visual agitation: hand-drawn posters about the Space Forces, stories parts, tables with calculations on which the readings of the locators are chalked up. In the operating room, where several officers are on duty, in front of the tables there is a huge screen onto which the entire cosmic situation is projected. From the speakers come the command, clear only to military astrologers.

The Russian flag, portraits of Putin and Shoigu remind of modernity. In the red corner - the icon of St. Nicholas.

“This was given to us by the local father when he consecrated the locator,” says Alexander Lelekov.

Immediately I remembered the ditties, which were sung in the 1961 year: "Gagarin flew into space - I did not see God." But, apparently, the times are changing, and there are no atheists among the military.

Having watched the work of the crew on duty, I ask the question: do you believe in astrology and have you ever met a UFO at work? A major with a smile like that of Yuri Gagarin replied:

- I do not believe in astrology. And about the UFO ... I was in the army for many years, until “Krona” I served on the “Pechora” and in the Moscow region, but I had never encountered anything like that. All objects that we observe are of reasonable origin.

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  1. VNP1958PVN
    VNP1958PVN 19 July 2015 07: 32
    In Karachay-Cherkessia, in the vicinity of Mount Chapal, at a height of 2200 meters above sea level, there is a unique military facility - the Krona radio-optical space object recognition complex.
    And yet, the coordinates, maybe it's time to hold your mouth, or maybe the Americans did not know, but we boasted to them ...
    1. Professor
      Professor 19 July 2015 08: 37
      Quote: VNP1958PVN
      And yet, the coordinates, maybe it's time to hold your mouth, or maybe the Americans did not know, but we boasted to them ...

      Coordinates? You are welcome.
      43°43'5.86"N 41°13'34.78"E

      - The winds here are really very strong, but the days and nights are clear all year round.

      How, how. laughing
      1. The comment was deleted.
      2. gjv
        gjv 19 July 2015 12: 25
        Quote: Professor

        Well, now the Americans have recognized everything! bully Moskovskiy garden.
        The main operational units since 1989 are located in the suburbs of Tel Aviv.

        Where is the FSB looking? bully
        1. Professor
          Professor 19 July 2015 13: 02
          Quote: gjv
          The main operational units since 1989 are located in the suburbs of Tel Aviv.

          Seriously? At the busiest crossroads of Israel? Now I'll know.wink
      3. gregor6549
        gregor6549 19 July 2015 14: 38
        SW Professor,.
        According to Wikimapia, the coordinates of the 20 m antenna of the "Krona" complex shown in article 43 ° 49'32 "N 41 ° 20'35" E.
        True, the Kron complex also includes other objects, including those whose photos and coordinates are given by you.
        For especially "classified". This secret has not been such for a long time and it is not at all the fault of the Professor. You open Wikimapia and there all the secrets of Russia are discernible from satellites (and not only Russia) at a glance.
    APASUS 19 July 2015 13: 01
    Who would know how much work was invested in this facility. There were more than 3000 military builders there. There, the mountain was probably blown up under the foundation only half a year. And the winds there are really fabulous. I saw a board about 6000 × 600 × 50 in size and stones in size with plums.
    When you had to be there along the road there were huge shields with inscriptions:
    "The driver, be careful while driving! Here, 00,00,198., In conditions of poor visibility, a Kamaz fell into the abyss under the control of a private ............ Private ......., private ... ......, private ....... "and such posters were probably 300 meters away.
  3. absurdity
    absurdity 19 July 2015 16: 38
    Yes, the complex is cool, the optical part is adaptive. I saw a photo of satellites from there after turning on the adaptive part - impressive. As for the clear weather all year round, we got a kick, for example, now for a month now, abnormal rains and fogs in this region, the "civilian" BTA and Zeiss 1000 do not work practically. Although for BTA it is not so offensive - they just change the coating on the mirror. "Window" in the astroclimate plan in a more convenient place, in Altai. But in our country there are simply no places with a good astroclimate, so there is not much to choose from. And the whole complex occupies a huge territory, both on the mountain and in the valley.
  4. Ze Kot
    Ze Kot 19 July 2015 18: 24
    More recently, there was the same article. What's the catch ?
    1. CT-55_11-9009
      CT-55_11-9009 19 July 2015 21: 44
      I don’t get it either.
  5. The stranger
    The stranger 20 July 2015 01: 30
    It is disgusting that the most useful points in the radio sense are in the microclimatic hell.
    We have two all over the country - the peaks of Musala and Botev.
    On Botev, the main retailers of everything and everyone, it covers almost the whole country and the Balkan Peninsula. But look from him - nevermind. For many times, I succeeded for a minute. There are wild winds, all the time pulling to roll Kolun to the rock, and pretend to be a stone. Only in a few places is the track half the width of the wheels on both sides, and it does not always work out :) And all the time it’s like fog, it can be seen until the middle of the hood. Not fog, of course, there is a stone desert, it is an eternal cloud. They say that in another year there are even three sunny days, I really haven’t seen it myself :)
    There is no such thing on Musala, there is sun, snow, the highest point in southeastern Europe, and an observatory of cosmic rays and meteorology. Without it, there will be no weather forecast for Europe, nor solar for the whole Earth. There, the weather is almost all the time resort, although there are no resorts. One two physicists per shift, occasionally climbers, a rusty, but working freight cableway in the summer, sometimes even the Ka-32. But when there is just a terrible thunderstorm below, there from direct lightning strikes, bowlers with porridge jump on the table :) This is despite two powerful positron umbrellas.
    Everything easily mined has already been mined, sucked, and forgotten in past centuries. And all that is interesting today is already mined with hard work. Like the same astronauts and submariners who hunchback for everyone.
    So - thanks also to those guys who serve there. If anyone knows them - send them my regards, and tremendous respect.