1981 CIA Video On The ‘SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM’

1981 CIA Video On The ‘SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM’


as it has evolved over the years the
Soviet space program might be described as something with a dual personality a
jekyll-and-hyde so to speak that is it consists of two parts one of which is
highly visible and acceptable to the world public while the other moves in a
sort of shadow land and is cloaked in high secrecy in this presentation we
will look at both sides and reach some conclusions about just where the Soviets
are today in their program and where they are going in the future the Soviet
space program became truly visible with the launching of the first Sputnik into
low-earth orbit on October 4th 1957 small as it was it created a sensation
around the world and spurred the u.s. to accelerate its own program basking in
the glow of its early success the soviet union made it clear that the intent was
to enhance its image as a technical scientific and military power in the
mid-1960s the soviets expanded the objectives of their space program by
launching new types of satellites with practical military
and economic applications while those directed toward meteorology and civil
communications received considerable publicity others such as those designed
for photographic and eelain reconnaissance radar calibration covert
communication navigation geodesy and satellite interception were masqueraded
as part of a continuing program of scientific research their real purpose
of course was in large part of a military nature in the late 1960s the
Soviets started testing larger and more complex space boosters and spacecraft
but serious setbacks hampered their progress for example their failure to
develop a booster large enough for manned of lunar missions along with the
u.s. lead in the Apollo project caused the Soviets to redirect the emphasis of
their man and space program to Earth orbiting space stations since the early
1970s the Soviets have concentrated their effort on space systems for
military support they improve the capability of their ELINT and photo
reconnaissance satellites and constructed a geosynchronous
communication satellite network at the same time they have sought to maintain
the image of Soviet prowess in space by heavily publicizing the missions of the
Salyut space stations Soviet interest in constructing manned orbital space
stations goes all the way back to 1896 when Konstantin Tsiolkovsky the
so-called father of Soviet space flight described such an undertaking in his
book beyond the planet Earth his vision of several cylinders four metres in
diameter linked together in Earth orbit and accommodating as many as 20 men may
well be realized by the Soviets in the next few years they have already
achieved part of this by docking the Salyut 6 space station with Cosmo
1267 a new Space Station module in 1969 leonid brezhnev said that orbital space
stations with replaceable crews were man’s highway into space the Soviets put
their first space station Salyut 1 into orbit in 1971 since then in spite of two
failures they have successfully orbited a total of six as mentioned at the
beginning of this presentation Soviet space efforts can be divided into two
parts military and scientific this is also true within the manned space
station program while solutes 1 4 & 6 are all involved in scientific research
with some military applications solutes 2 3 & 5 are clearly part of the military
program as an example of the Soviets growing proficiency in manned space
flight it is notable that solute 6 has been in orbit for the past 4 years and
during that time has played host to both Soviet and non Soviet visitors 28
different cosmonauts have visited solute 6
nine of these were non Soviet they spent a total of 2117 man days or nearly seven
man years in space and occupied the station for 44% of its time in orbit it
is also notable that although solute 6 does serve certain military purposes
mostly of an observational nature the Soviets prefer to project it’s
purely scientific nature such as biomedical research earth’s resources
studies and the materials processing and here again we note the
jekyll-and-hyde nature of the Soviet space program within the Soviet space
program the military effort is by far the most active usually accounting for
about 70% of the launches each year by contrast although the number of dueled
military civil missions has grown significantly since the early 1960s they
still account for only about 15% of the annual total and the number of purely
scientific missions account for less than 15% the u.s. programs on the other
hand are about evenly divided between military and non-military projects
during the 24 years of their space program there has been no significant
change in the Soviets highly standardized development process
typically it covers a 10 to 15-year span from decision to final development and
this is of course precluding any major setback although their system of
development has some inherent advantages such as centralized bureaucratic
direction it is neither malleable nor adaptive and it lacks the ability to
recognize and solve complex problems in a show
the Soviets are continuing to expand their aerospace industry for space
system design and production

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