Kapustin Yar

Kapustin Yar (Russian: Капустин Яр) is a Russian rocket launch and development site in Astrakhan Oblast, between Volgograd and Astrakhan. 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.

Kapustin Yar
Капустин Яр
Russian Federation
Kapustin Yar
Coordinates48.586°N 45.72°E / 48.586; 45.72
Site information
OwnerRussian Federation
Site history
Built1946 (1946)
Built bySoviet Union


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 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 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]

June 3, 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 August 20, 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 x, dugout x, temporary buildings, and also lived in peasant izba x village Kapustin Yar. Guide landfill lived in special train. By October 1, 1947, VV Voznyuk reported to the leadership about the readiness of the launch site for launching rockets, on October 14, 1947, the first batch of missiles V-2 (A-4) arrived at the test site.

On October 18, 1947 at 10:47 Moscow time, the first launch of ballistic missile in the USSR was made. In the period from October 18 to November 13, 1947, 11 V-2 rockets were launched, of which 9 reached the target (albeit with a large deviation from the set trajectory) and 2 crashed.

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 September 2, 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 May 20, 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 March 16, 1962, Kapustin Yar became cosmodrome: Cosmos-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 Cosmos ”.

In subsequent years, a large number of various short- and medium-range missiles, cruise missiles, 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 [7] (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.[8]

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 [9] On the morning of September 27, 2007, the general designer of NPO Almaz Alexander Lemansky, work manager for S-400 Triumf and other air defense systems and missile defense.

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.[10]

Flight "Canberra"

Western intelligence services learned about the existence of the test site from German scientists returning to their homeland. For an additional gathering of intelligence in August 1953, a specially trained British reconnaissance aircraft "Canberra" (Canberra PR3, tail number "WH726" ), equipped with a unique camera “Robin”.[11][12][note 1] The aircraft was launched from Giebelstadt Air Base and flying over 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 Iranian Tabriz. As a result of the flight, snapshots of secret objects of 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 48.470308°N 46.317647°E / 48.470308; 46.317647 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 48.615101°N 46.299855°E / 48.615101; 46.299855 Launch pads: 1. R-5, RT-15. R-5 Launch complex consisting of three pads.
Area 86 Kapustin Yar LC86 48.569350°N 46.295413°E / 48.569350; 46.295413 Launch pads: 4. Kosmos 11K63, Kosmos 63S1, Kosmos 63S1M, R-31. Single launch complex consisting of four launch pads.
Area 107 Kapustin Yar LC107 48.540716°N 46.299020°E / 48.540716; 46.299020 Launch pads: 2. Kosmos 11K65M, Kosmos 65MP, R-14. Single launch complex consisting of two launch pads.
Area 107 Kapustin Yar LC107 48.541425°N 46.301082°E / 48.541425; 46.301082 Launch garage: 1. mobile ICBM Topol/Topol-E
Mayak-1 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-1 48.569537°N 46.294893°E / 48.569537; 46.294893 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Mayak-2 silo Kapustin Yar Mayak-2 48.569551°N 46.295814°E / 48.569551; 46.295814 Launch pads: 1. Kosmos 63S1, R-12.
Pioner Launch Complex Kapustin Yar Pioner 48.6200°N 46.2500°E / 48.6200; 46.2500 Rail-served launch complex.
Area 1 Kapustin Yar PL1 48.4000°N 46.2000°E / 48.4000; 46.2000 Launch pads: 1. R-12.
Area 87 Kapustin Yar PL87 48.561263°N 46.295281°E / 48.561263; 46.295281 Launch pads: 1. RT-2.
R-1 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-1 48.8000°N 45.6700°E / 48.8000; 45.6700
R-11 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-11 48.7000°N 46.2000°E / 48.7000; 46.2000 Naval missile test area.
R-14 Silo Prototype Kapustin Yar R-14 48.528534°N 46.295274°E / 48.528534; 46.295274
R-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-2 48.7800°N 45.7000°E / 48.7800; 45.7000
R-5 Initial Launch Area Kapustin Yar R-5 48.7500°N 45.7500°E / 48.7500; 45.7500
SM-49 submarine simulator Kapustin Yar SM-49 48.671529°N 46.270620°E / 48.671529; 46.270620 Launch pads: 1. R-11FM.
Sounding rocket launch area Kapustin Yar Sounding 48.7000°N 46.2000°E / 48.7000; 46.2000
V-2 Launch Area Kapustin Yar V-2 48.5500°N 45.8200°E / 48.5500; 45.8200 Original site for V-2 launches in 1946. First complex at Kapustin Yar.
Vertikal Launch Pad Kapustin Yar Vertikal 48.5000°N 46.7800°E / 48.5000; 46.7800 Launch pads: 1. Launch site for R-5 scientific launches, located well east of the primary military launch areas.

Interesting facts

  • In public opinion, the site is often referred to as “Russian Roswell[13] - the place where USSR was located or was investigated captured or wrecked alien ships. Based on this legend, various television programs were filmed and there are many different data on the Internet, including the structure of the underground complex of the channel. [14]
  • Kapustin Yar is mentioned in the story "Cradle in Orbit" Arthur C Clarke.
  • Kapustin Yar is mentioned in the novel Alexander Gromov “Step to the left, step to the right”. M., AST, 1999.
  • Kapustin Yar is mentioned in the shooting star Harry Harrison (writer).
  • One of the key missions of the computer game UFO: Aftermath is the task of finding documents in an underground base located at the Kapustin Yar test site.
  • January 8, 1992, during a trip to Saratov Region President of the Russian Federation Boris Yeltsin, making a statement on the issue of restoration Volga Autonomous Republic of the Germans, proposed Soviet Germans to move to Kapustin Yar, instead of their legitimate territory. "... and let this land, which is filled with shells, may they cultivate it ... There may be some such region in some future and there will be, or there may be some such national Volga region Germans, but only when there will be 90 percent of Germans. ”

See also


  1. The UK Government has never recognized the fact of the flight, but about him indicate multiple indirect evidence, 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". www.kap-yar.ru. 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". militera.lib.ru (in Russian). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  7. "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.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-21. Retrieved 2019-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-09-21. Retrieved 2019-01-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. "ЦЭНКИ - Центр эксплуатации объектов наземной космической инфраструктуры". www.russian.space (in Russian). Retrieved 3 January 2019.
  11. Lashmar, Paul: "Spy Flights of the Cold War" Sutton Publishing 1998 ISBN 0-7509-1970-1 pp 76-83.
  12. Pedlow, Gregory W. and Welzenbach, Donald E. .: "The CIA and the U-2 Program, 1954-1974 "Central Intelligence Agency p23 History Staff Center for the Study of Intelligence.
  13. "Russian Roswell". UFO Phenomenon. August 1, 2009. Archived from the original on December 4, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2019. Template:Unavailable link
  14. polygon, see d / f "Russian Roswell" from the series 'UFO Files' (2005) of the History Channel


  • Naimark, Norman (1995). The Russians in Germany. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-78405-5.
  • Kurt, Magnus (1999). Raketensklaven. Deutsche Forscher hinter rotem Stacheldraht. Elbe-Dnjepr-Verlag. ISBN 3-933395-67-4.
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