Check Out These Awesome New Photos of the Early Soviet Space Program

Uncategorized May 16, 2016 0

Of dogs and rockets. All photos courtesy of the Russian defense ministry Newly declassified pics show dogs and rockets — and Earth’s first satellites by MATTHEW GAULT More...
Of dogs and rockets. All photos courtesy of the Russian defense ministry

Newly declassified pics show dogs and rockets — and Earth’s first satellites

by MATTHEW GAULT

More than 70 years ago on May 13, 1946, Soviet Russia established Kapustin Yar as the testing ground for its fledgling space program.

It was one of humanity’s first big steps toward the stars. A string of Soviet orbital feats followed as Russian scientists put the first dog, man and artificial satellite into space.

To commemorate Kapustin Yar’s anniversary, the Russian defense ministry just declassified dozens of amazing photographs. They’re a record of the early Space Age.

Space dogs hanging out after coming home
An R-2 short-range ballistic missile, one of the technological foundations of Soviet rocketry

Kasputin Yar, now called Znamensk, is in southwest Russia. Its isolation and flat terrain made it an excellent location for testing rockets. It was from here that the Soviets launched the first canines into space.

Loading rockets into silos

The Russian military still uses Kasputin Yar to test equipment including rockets. The secretive nature of the military — along with the site’s space-faring history — has inspired various conspiracy theories.

R-2A and F-5A rockets

The History Channel even called Kasputin Yar “the Russian Area 51.”

Models of early Soviet satellites