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Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Secret DIRECTORATE OF INTELLIGENCE MEEKLY SUMMARY Special Report The Soviet Space Program Ten Years After Sputnick I Secret 45 6 October 1967 No. 0310/67B Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 SECRET THE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM TEN YEARS AFTER SPUTNIK I October 4th marked the tenth anniversary of the, flight of Sputnik I, the world's first artificial earth satellite. What have the Soviets tried to achieve during this period, what have they actually accomplished, how did they do it, and what are the prospects in the years to come? Some see the Soviet space program as only a scheme to capture spectacular headlines, some con- sider it an exclusively military effort, and still others view the past ten years as an orderly unfold- ing of a long-range master plan with neither false steps nor blind alleys. The Soviets themselves fre- quently have characterized their program as purely scientific and not competitive with that of the US. None of these diagnoses is completely right or wrong. The Soviet space program has looked a good deal like that of the US and has featured amixture: of scientific, military, and commercial ventures. It has gained world-wide headlines with .spectacular achievements; a creditable number of Soviet flights, on the other hand, quietly made solid contributions to man's understanding of the cosmos. Certain seg- ments of the program have indeed exhibited a, high degree of orderly planning and intelligent execu- tion; but there have been dead ends, blunders,-and even disasters. Early Sputniks The orbiting of Sputnik I on 4 October 1957 was atre- mendous achievement for its day. Whether the timing of the launch was determined by a de- sire to beat the US into space or reflected an independent So- viet schedule is unclear. The Soviet program already had been in existence several years. The USSR's permanent Interdepart- mental Commission for Inter- planetary Travel was set up four SECRET Page 1 SPECIAL REPORT 6 Oct 67 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 SECRET or five years before the US created its National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and in 1954 the USSR established the Tsiolkovsky Gold Medal, to be awarded for accomplishments in interplanetary communications. Sputnik II, launched in No- vember 1957 with the dog Laika aboard, represented the second major Soviet achievement and provided a clear indication of the USSR's strong interest in developing means of sustaining life in space. The Soviets next showed the world their weight-lifting capability by launching Sputnik III, a capsule weighing nearly 3,000 pounds. The use of the very large, first generation SS-6 ICBM as a space booster made such launches pos- sible. This booster is still the mainstay of the Soviet pro- gram and has been used to launch the majority of the more than 250 Soviet satellites put into orbit thus far. The Interplanetary Program ended in failure. Nine payloads failed to eject from earth orbit into interplanetary trajectories. Most frustrating to the Soviets has been the fact that every probe put into an interplanetary trajec- tory suffered a communications failure prior to reaching its ob- jective. The interplanetary story con- tinues: a probe recently launched toward Venus is operating properly and is expected to reach the planet on 18 October. It is very likely that shots will be at- tempted in January 1969, when the Venus window will again be open, and in February 1969, when firings to Mars will be possible. The Soviets unmanned lunar program started spectacularly but soon lapsed into a long dry spell. Their solid initial ac- complishments subsequently were eclipsed by more spectacular US successes. Outstanding among the dif- ferences between the Soviet and US programs has been the greater emphasis the USSR has put on un- manned exploration of the moon and, especially, the planets. The Soviets have taken advantage of eight of the nine Mars or Venus "launch windows" open since the fall of 1960, when they made their first attempt to launch an interplanetary probe. Most of the attempted flights The USSR started launching probes toward the moon soon after its initial venture into space. Luna 1 was successfully ejected toward the moon on 2 Jan- uary 1959. Although Luna 1 missed the moon by a wide margin, the operation represented a sig- nificant step orward. Later the same year the Soviets hit the moon, with Luna 2, and photo- graphed its hidden side--a bril- liant achievement--with Luna 3. SECRE"I' Page 2 SPECIAL REPORT Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 SECRET 25X1 All of the early lunar shots were flown on a rela- tively simple direct-ascent trajectory, but subsequent probes were made to circle the earth in a "parking" or- bit before being blasted out toward the moon. This procedure--more complex but permitting the use of heav- ier payloads--has become standard for all lunar, in- terplanetary, and deep- space launches. The Soviets also put a more powerful third stage on their launch vehicle. The. lunar program, using the parking orbit technique, resumed in 1963 with the goal of orbiting the moon and of load on the a a t-landin o y p g f s surface. Lunas 4, 5, 6, 7, Far Side of Moon TakonFromLunilc8 and 8 all missed the moon or crashed onto it, and six other launches either failed to attain the parking orbit or to eject from it, before Luna 9 soft- landed in January 1966. The So- viets were surprisingly slow in correcting the deficiencies plaguing this program, a failing that has been noted in other parts of the space effort, too. After the flight of Luna 9, how- ever, they successfully placed three probes into lunar orbits-- Lunas 10, 11, and 12--and made a a second landing with Luna 13. Since Luna 9, only one lunar probe has failed. The quality and num- ber of pictures taken by the So- viet probes compares very poorly with those obtained soon after by the US Surveyors and Lunar Orbit- ers. Manned Space Flights The beginning of the full-sys- tems test phase of the Soviet manned space program was signaled by the launch of a 10,000-pound payload containing an instrumented dummy in May 1960. Six more. tests of spacecraft carrying dogs led to the electrifying flight of Yuri Gagarin in Vostok 1 on 12 April 1961. Here, as elsewhere, the So- viets used an "all-up" test philosophy in preparing for their first manned orbit41 flight. At SECRET SPECIAL REPORT 6 Oct 67 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 SEC, R E'll' the earliest opportunity, they tested a vehicle-payload combina- tion that was essentially the same as the one ultimately flown by Gagarin. This philosophy is characteristic of the Soviets and contrasts with the frequent US practice of preparing for a complex mission by a progression of tests of increasing complex- ity. Titov's one-day flight took place four months after Gagarin's milestone single orbit. The next year saw the dual flights of Vos- toks 3 and 4, whose launches--a day apart--were timed so that the two ships passed within three miles of each other. Although not a true rendezvous--because the spaceships were in different or- bital planes--this operation in- dicated that the Soviets could control flight trajectory and launch times precisely enough to perform a rendezvous. The dual flight of Vostoks 5 and 6 took place in 1963. This opera- tion was basically a repeat of the Vostok 3 and 4 flights, with the added wrinkle that one of the spaceships contained a fe- male cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova. Late in 1964 the USSR put up Voskhod I, a capsule containing three cosmonauts. Voskhod 2, launched in March 1965, carried two men and fea- tured the walk-in-space by T.Pnnny SECRET Page 4 SPECIAL REPORT 6 Oct 67 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 SECRET 25X1 The two-year pause in the Soviet manned flight program fol- lowing the orbiting of Voskhod 2 was ended by the ill-fated Soyuz-1 flight of Vladimir Koma- rov. There has been no clear ex- planation for the long hiatus. It appears that the Soviets had done about as much as they could with the Vostok capsule and that more complex missions would re- quire a new spaceship. (A two- year delay also occurred between the US Mercury and Gemini flights. The Vostok afforded the pilot poor visibility and was ill- suited for modification for ren- dezvous and docking experiments of the type performed by the Geminis. The only unexploited capa- bility of the Soviet craft was its capacity to support a long- duration flight. It appears that the Soviets could have exceeded the Gemini record of 14 days in space had they chosen to do so. Why they failed to try is not clear. Soyuz-1 was indeed a new spaceship, although it weighed about as much as Voskhod and was put up by the same booster u pr per stage combinati nn _ Scientific Satellites The Soviet scientific satel- lite program has featured launches of small (500-pound), nonrecover- able payloads using SS-4 MRBMs equipped with upper stages. The Soviets have designated these launches as the Cosmos series. Firings have been occurring at a rate of about seven per vpar I 25X1 25X1 A variety of interesting ex- periments and significant contribu- tions to science have been made by this program, even though it does not enjoy high priority within the Soviet space effort or compare favorably with US scientific 25X1 achievements in space. SECRET Page 5 SPECIAL REPORT Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 SECRET teorological payloads for weather forecasting have been orbited successfully. These programs so far have been much less exten- sive than US efforts. It ap- pears that the Soviets are find- ing it difficult to put up pay- loads having an acceptably long operating life. The Proton Booster More recently, Molniya com- munications satellites and me- 25X1 25X1 Molniya i Communications Satellite the SS-6. Three more Proton launches have been mad The inefficiency of the Pro- ton launch system was most puz- zling. By adding a relatively small third stage, the Soviets could have doubled the weight put into orbit. It was expected that this change would be made very quickly, but instead the program lapsed after the launch of Pro- ton-3 in July 1966. It seems likely that the performance of SECRET Page 6 SPECIAL REPORT Among the most interesting Soviet space flights in the past few years have been those initi- ated with the orbiting of a 28,000-pound Proton satellite in July 1965. The Proton was twice as heavy as any payload previously put into orbit by the USSR and signaled the availability of a booster considerably larger than Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 25X1 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 SFCRFT the booster fell short of the expectations of the Soviets and that they found it necessary to modify the vehicle and possibly its launch facilities. With continued testing, this new launch vehicle undoubtedly will be perfected and made re- liable, giving the Soviets a num- ber of interesting options. They could send a payload of 10,000 to 15,000 pounds toward the moon or the nearby planets. This weight is sufficient to allow a manned circumlunar trip--that is, a flight around the moon without landing and a return to earth. The weight is also great enough to permit the soft-landing of an un- manned payload on the moon to col- lect a sample of the surface. A rocket in the spacecraft would then return to earth. In earth orbit, 50,000 to 60,000 pounds would be ample for a space station carrying six men for four months or more. The Soyuz ship could be used as a ferry for bringing up replace- ments and supplies. The USSR is now believed to be constructing a massive launch facilit F_ j The lack of interest the 25X1 Soviets have shown in the use of high-energy propellants in the upper stages of their booster systems suggests that the new launch system will use conven- tional fuels. If this is the case, the first-stage booster will have to generate a thrust in ex- cess of 10 million pounds if the SECRET SPECIAL REPORT 6 Oct 67 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 SECRET Soviet payloads are to perform missions of the type planned for Saturn V. It seems clear that the Soviets will use this vehicle for manned flights, because no unmanned missions to the nearby planets require so large a booster. It is unlikely that manned flights to Mars or Venus will be tried in the next several years, however, because the round-trip times are too long. The booster could be used to place a manned spacecraft weigh- ing as much as a quarter of a million pounds into a low orbit around the earth. A manned lunar landing is, nevertheless, the most likely focus of Soviet at- tention the next five-year pe SECRET Page 8 SPECIAL REPORT 25X1 25X1 Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927A006000070005-6 ApSevvOifr Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6 Secret Approved For Release 2006/12/11: CIA-RDP79-00927AO06000070005-6