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The State central multi-service range of the Russian Defence Ministry (the range Kapustin Yar)

The State central multi-service range (SCMR) of the RF Defence Ministry was established on the basis of the Resolution of the USSR Council of Ministers of 13 May 1946. This Resolution created the Special Committee on Rocket Technologies, and within the Ministry of the USSR Armed Forces – the State central range of rocket technologies (SCRRT) for all the Ministries involved. Guards Lieutenant-General of Artillery Vasily Voznyuk was appointed the chief of the range.

In late August – early September 1947 the special purpose brigade of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s Reserve under the command of Major-General A.F. Tveretsky was redeployed from the point of forming to the Kapustin Yar range. The brigade was assigned for conducting experimental launches of the primary test ballistic missiles, their improving and verifying their performance qualities, as well as their preparing for adoption.

For preparing and implementing missile launches technical and launch-control teams were formed from the technical engineer personnel of the 1st administration of the range and the special purpose brigade.

By October 1947, the processing-and-launching site’s necessary facilities were built, the experimental tests of the pilot missile sample – ballistic missile A-4 – began. Chief Designers S.P. Korolyov, N.A. Pilyugin, V.P. Glushko, V.P. Barmin came to the place for the tests’ technical management.

In early October 1947, the primary missile was delivered to the range, and on 16 October its preparation for launch was completed on the processing-and-launching site. Later, within 2 days, the launch-control team’s personnel directed by Major (Eng.) Ya.I. Tregub and Deputy Chief Designer on tests N.A. Voskresensky were continually working on the launching site. On 18 October 1947, at 9:50 a.m., the first Soviet ballistic missile was launched.

From the first days of its existence the range tested rocket technologies in the interests of all the Services of the country’s Armed Forces. Since 1947, more than 35 strategic missile systems have been practiced at the range. Since 1946, 12 types of rocket artillery systems have been worked out on the range. Since 1953, more than 16 types of operative-tactical and tactical missile systems have been worked out.

Missile systems Scud, Temp, Oka, Luna, Tochka were superior in their performance in comparison with their foreign counterparts. Throughout the whole history of it, the range was the key scientific-and-testing centre for practicing missile systems of the Land Force.

The first launch of cruise missile in 12th of January 1951 marked the beginning of working out the Navy’s missile weapons on the range. Ballistic missile R-11FM and the first missile systems for submarines were practiced there. The range made a decisive contribution to establishing and developing the domestic missile production for the Navy, as well as ensuring the world priority in naval missile weapons’ creation.

Since 1951, more than 28 systems of missile weapons of the Navy have been practiced on the range and with its participation. The launch of unguided anti-aircraft rocket shell Strizh in May of 1950 initiated the researches to create AD missile weapons. Since 1950, the range has tested 10 AD missile systems and adopted 43 automated control systems. The tested weapons’ high efficiency has been demonstrated when protecting many countries’ air boundaries. More than 20 countries were engaged in purchasing combat equipment of anti-aircraft missile troops.

Currently, the AD scientific test centre as part of the Kapustin Yar range is continuing to test armaments. Since the first days of its creation the range has been at the forefront of research and exploration of outer space. All major areas of space exploration were born and passed the practical testing at the range. Since 1949, it has conducted meteorological, geophysical, biomedical researches, model practicing of designs of manned and unmanned space vehicles, improvement of re-entry vehicles, equipment for exploration of Mars and Venus, testing of unmanned orbital rocket glider and orbital spacecraft Buran’s model.

By the Directive of the Armed Forces’ General Staff the State research trial range Sary-Shagan was formed in 1956, and in October 1957 the first launch of the experimental missile defense system’s antimissile was carried out, and deployment of its means begun.

Less than five years after the Sary-Shagan range’s creation, on 4 March 1961, the world's first antimissile V-1000, equipped with fragmentation warhead, within the experimental system A destroyed the head of ballistic missile R-12, launched from the Kapustin Yar range. This launch confirmed the theoretical prospects concerning possible creation of the country’s missile defense. Since 1999, the State testing range (STR) Sary Shagan has been performing the tasks as a part of the SCMR.

Since 1957, the range has been participating in supporting launches of initial artificial satellites of the Earth, since 1962, it has been carrying out launches of satellites within program named Kosmos. The first satellite of the Interkosmos series launched in 1969, made a beginning for international cooperation in space exploration. Under the Interkosmos programme 10 launches of the Vertical’ type’s altitude balloons were conducted from 1970 to 1981, as well as a number of experiments were carried out when launching meteorological rockets.

After German satellite ABRIKSAS and Italian satellite MEG-SAT’s launch, on 29 April 1999, the range was again claimed as a cosmodrome (spaceport).

Today the Kapustin Yar SCMR is a single R & D complex, which has a high scientific-and-technical potential, developed experimental technical base, advantageous climatic conditions, territory and air space making it possible to test and jointly develop defensive and offensive weapon systems in the interests of all Services and Arms of the RF Armed Forces.

In particular, the range Kapustin Yar is unique for testing ballistic missiles’ combat equipment. Only its test tracks and the range’s measuring complex make it possible to test perspective combat equipment for the whole variety of possible conditions of its delivery to targets.

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