CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM RELEASE AS SANITIZED
HE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM
THIS ESTIMATE IS ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE NATIONAL FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BOARD CONCURS, EXCEPT AS NOTED IN THE TEXT.
The foBowing intelligence organizations participated in the preparation ol the Estimate:
The Cornrd InteBigBoc* Aowcy. the Det*waAoency. lhe Notional Security Agmcy, ond lheroamuAon of ih. Oaport-need of Stale.
The Aitittont Chiaf ol Staff (or InteCaeoee. Department ol the Army The Oatxlor ol NavolDeportment olNovy The Awitlonl CiWI ol Stall,Deportment ol lhe Air force The Director ol lnlellioer.ce, Heooqoarteei. /Aarine Corpt
This lislimale describes current Soviet space capabilities, identifies elemenls of ihc space program in various stages of developmenl. and es-limales how these will affect fuluie Soviet capabilities in space throughnd inton the absence of space-related arms control agreementsresents the Key Judgmentsummary of how expected Soviet space developments will affect political, military, and economic competition as well as Soviet prestige. Volume IIore detailed discussion of the missions and capabilities of the Soviet space program.
For purposes of this Estimate, wc have judged the likelihood of various Soviet space developments as ranging from very low to very high. These judgments, stated In leims of probability of occurrence, would be:
0 toercent0 toercent
0 toercent Veryore thanercent.
We believe the principal goats of the Soviet space program arc to:
Provide global support lo Soviet military forces.
Enhance, the worldwide influence and prestige of the Soviet Union.
Deny enemies the use of space in wartime.
Contribute to the Soviet economy.
Military activities account for more thanercent of the current Soviet space program in terms oi annual bunches and the estimated total cost of lhe program. Moreover, from the Soviet military pcrspec-tive. space is viewed as an extension of theaters of operations rather thaneparate arena of conflict.
The current Soviet space program includesctive satellites that provide communications. Intelligence, targeting, warning. naviRation, mapping, weather, research, and olher functions. Inresearch and reconnaissance are conductedanned space complex. Current Soviet antisatellite (ASAT) capabilities are limited and fall short of meeting the apparent requirement to be able to deny enemy use of space in time of war. The USSR has an operational ASAT orbital interceptor, grourrd-bascd test lasers with probable ASATand the technological capability to conduct electronic warfare (EW) against space systems
Although their current space program lacks some of the capabilities found in the technologically sophisticated US space program, the Soviets' space systems adequaioly satisfy most of their currentThe space program, moreover, has several unique features, including ocean reconnaissance satellites for naval targeling, orbital interceptors for the destruction of satellites in low orbit, and long-duration manned space missions that have increasingly emphasized military research and applications.
The Soviet space program bthe dollar cost equivalent is moreillion. Cuitcntly this amounts to more than 15
percent of the Soviet gross national productart ol this high cosl is due lo lhe highernecessary for the Soviels lo maintain iheir systems in orbil. Average lifelimes of Soviel satellites are quite shorl. and many have experienced reliabilityMoreover, Soviet satellites are concentrated primarily in low-altilude orbits that generally require more frequent replenishment.
Soviet space expcndilures will conlinue al high levels during lhe nextears, and the rate of growth in military space investment will continue to outpace the rate of growth of lhe Soviet economy and overall military spending:
Seventeen new Soviel space systems lhat have been identified in various stages of development are likely to undergo testing in the nextears. (Secost of them are expected to be deployed by the. This will result mainly into current capabilities.
Major new capabilities in lite nextears will result from the successful introductioneusable space transportationa spaceilitary space plane,eavy-lift launch vehicle. Any delay in development of the heavy-lift launch vehicle will seriously affect several other Soviet space systems.
The reliability of Soviet space systems also will improve, but some reliability problems will remain because of poor product engineering, limitations in technology, and inadequate quality control. Newer satellites should achieve an average lifetime of three years, nearly doubling the average lifetime of older systems.
The most significant result of the Increased effort in space will be the extension of lhe Soviel military reach by providing global support to military operations:
Command and control communications will be availablelobal basis, providina an expanding number of military users with conlinuous. secure, and reliable communicalions.
Intelligence collection, largeiing, global navigation, and weal her data will be more accuralc and timely.
As satellite dala relay systems become available, inlelligence and target information will be increasingly available to tactical commanders.
Major New Soviet Space Systems in Development
I .I'ly uafciul
For the rest of this century, Soviet space-related weapon systems will probably be limited to ASAT roles:
We do not expect significant improvements in the capabilities of the nonnuclear orbital ASATc do notthe developmentigh-altitude conventional orbital ASAT capability
Potentially, the most serious threat to US space systems is active EW. especially against high-altitude satellites. An additional view holds that,oviet active EW capability against salellilcs does exist, brute force jamming would be lhe most likely EW technique On the basis of available evidence, it is
difficult to judge with any confidenceovietcapability would include more complex forms of jamming.1
Although potentially capable, wc believe that Sovietballistic missiles and direct-ascent antiballistic missiles (ABMs) are unlikely to be used in ASAT roles. Nevertheless, unprotected satellites will remain vulnerable to the long-range and persistent effects of nuclear detonations in space.
We believe thereigh probabilityrototype high-energy laser ASAT weapon will be tested in low orbit by theigh-altitude version may be tested by lhe end of Ihepace-based laser ofegawatt class could be tested in thet the earliest, bulst ing is more likely to occur in the. If lesling proves successful, an initial operational low-altitude system consistingew satellite weapons, having on ASAT range of hundreds of kilometers, could be available by the. Theimpact of the first testpace-based lasereapon-related mode would be greater than the actual military significance ofeapon in its initial applications
Space-based weapons for ballistic missile defense (BMD) will require greater technological advances than those needed for an ASAT mission. Thus, llie Soviets are unlikely torototype space-based laser BMD system until at least ther an operational system until after the
ransition lo war. wc believe the Soviets would expand theof naval targeting and pholorcconnalssance systems to reach full operational potential. Short of direct US-Soviet conflict, it seems unlikely thai the Soviet leadership would risk physical destruction of US satellites, whereas it could perceive nondestructive interferenceomewhat less risky option. Should war occur, lhe use of active electronic warfare against space systems would probably be the Initial ASAT activity. We do not believe that any ASAT activity would bemerely for warning or demonstration purposes. The likelihood of their launching orbital ASAT interceptors against selected US satellites probably would be highATO-Warsaw Pact conflict. Inonflict, the Soviels may perceive an operational advantage if both sides experience significant satellite losses. Inthe? USSR's quick-launch capabilities provide an advantage over tbe United States in restoring satellite capabilities, assuming its launch-pads remain intact.
'ui of thtih* Ihttcim. National Srcunl* Ami*
ucleat war, Soviet space systems would have keyTheir launch and control sites are not hardened, and their satellites probably have limited protection, in tlie future, key satellite systems could be replaced cither by using reserves stored In orbit or by launching satellites from mobile facilities. However, the development of smaller communications and photoreconnaissance satellites would be required for useobile launch capability.
Manned space activities are receiving increased emphasis in the Soviet space program:
6 manned space activities, which are predominantly military in nature, will account for more than one-fourth of Soviet space expenditures.
The Soviet leadership has announced the national objective ofontinuously manned space station, which we believe will be achieved by
Beyond research and development, the military purposes of manned space stations remain unclear, but reconnaissance, to include ocean surveillance, is likely to be the main military mission. Inilitary space plane is underThe space plane mission also is unclear, but is likely toreconnaissance.
Increased Soviet space activities will offer potenlial economic benefits:
The USSR will be able loariety of space services at competitive prices. These services, particularlyand space launches, could provide sources of hardearnings.
Manufacluring and materials processing in space is another area of potenlial economic benefit to the USSR. Soviet experiments arc sufficiently advanced to begin production in space within the next few years. The Soviet space shuttle will enable regular harvesting of products manufactured in space.
Increased Soviet space activities will also enhance Soviet prestige:
A visible, highly publicized, continuously manned Soviet space station will receive frequent worldwide attention.
A manned Mars mission or the: eslablishmentanned lunar base could be undertaken in the. If actually undertaken and successful, such activities would demonstrate Soviel scienlific and technical prowess.
Unmanned lunar and planetary exploration, such as the coming Venus-Halley's Comet mission, will enhance the USSR's desired imageeaceful and technologically advanced nation.
Our ability to anticipate developments in the Soviet space program
is becoming increasingly difficultQ
"(Therefore, unanticipated developments will bely possible."Our perception of the Soviet space threat would increaseif breakthroughs occur in:
joeument wo. cfasominoted byc-orote ol hteffigence. TWs copy It lor Ihe .nformotron ond w, of (he recipient ond of porwo. under his or her iurlrfietJoneed-lo-know basis, AcUfonal essential cfasemlnation may be author ired by lhe followingithin Iho* respeelhre departments!
Director. Bureau of Iniefigeoce ond Research, for the Deporlmenl of State Director, Defense InleKioeoce Agency, for Ihe Office of the Secretory of Defease ond the crgctniiollon of the Joint Chiefs of Staff C. Assistant Chiel of Staff for InteBgence. for the Deporlmenl of the Army
of Naval Inteftgence, for the Oeoortmenl of lhe Navy
Chief of Staff,ar the Department of the Air Force
of InleSgcnce. for Headquarters, Marine Corps
Secretory for Defenseor the Deportment al Energy
Director, FBI, for Ihe Federal Bureau of Investigation
of NSA, for lhe National Security Agency
j. Special Assistant lo the Secretary for Nahonal Security, for Ihe Deportment of the Treasury
k. The Deputy Director for lateftgeoce for any other Departmeni or Agency
This document may be retained, or destroyed by burning in accordance with applicable security regulations, or returned toclorafe of InteBgence.
When this document is cfescrninafed overteas, the overseas recipients may retain llerrod not in excess of one year. At Ihe end of this period, the document should be destroyed or returned lo the forwarding agency, ershould be requested of the forwarding agency lo reiom it in accordance wilh2
title of this dacumenl when used separately from the text is undotsSfiod.Original document.