THE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM (NIE 11 -1-69 M/H)

Created: 3/26/1970

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TO HOLDERS NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

The Soviet Space Program

Handle Via Indicated Controls

by

DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE

Corn tilled in by lh* UNITED STATES INTELLIGENCE BOARD Ai indkoied owleof0

CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW PROGRAM v RELEASE AS SANITIZED

TOP SECRCT Copv N? 2

COMTROILCD OI33PM

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The following irttelhger.ee organizations participated in the preparation ol this estimate:

Th. Ceiwrol Inleftg.nco Agency endroonixotioM of the Deport menfi of Slot* ond Dofenie, ond iho MSA

Concurring;

Dr.. Smith, for tho Deputy Director of Ceotrol Intelligence

Or. Roy S. Cllne, ihe Director of tnt.Vlaenc. ond Rewofch, Deportment of Stole

It. Gen. Donald V. bemett, iho Director,Intelligence Agency

Vice Aden. Noel Coyler.KlOf. Notional Socvritv Aoenev

Mr- KouexUth-niF-icl

Abifourtingi cral Koriaeer, Atonic Inerfj ccxaaissioo

Ate.rown.he! Monoger, AJorrtic Eoeeaycod AV.obvon. rh* AtuStam Dirrxior, Federal Bvoov ot mwmtmtMm, the tvbjeet being cvti.devrkdiaioci.

1

THE SOVIET SPACE PROGRAM

Since the publication ol, several development* have directly affected tlie Sovieli" capabilityarry out major space ventures. Tlieir prin. cipal effect will be to delay the time when certain of these ventures can lie undertaken. But in addition these develop menu have undoubtedly caused the Soviets toerious look al their overalland they may result in some rcauRnmcnl of near-term objectives.

The very large launch vehicles alt Tyuratnm are essential to any plans the Soviets may haveanned lunar landinganned lunar orbiting mission, or the very0 pounds) space station referred to in.he Soviets attempted the initial launth of one of those vehicles. Thai launch was probably intended to send anspacecraft lo lite vicinity of live moon and return it to earth. The vehicle esploded. causing extensive damage loaunch'pad Since we believe that bothaunch pads would be requiredanned lunar landing mission, the Soviets must repair the pad as well as solving tlie launch vehicle problems before that mission can be undertaken.

3 1'hes the launch vehicle that we judged the Soviets would use lua large space station (weighing0 pounds) and toariety ol unmanned lunar and planetary probes It has now2 of tlie IS launches attempted. This high rate of failure cannot be attributed to any obvious or easily remediable cause, or to any one component of the system; it appears to result Irom shortcomings in quality control and in test andprocedures. Ihe solution mayajor overhaul in the program, starling al the manigersal level.

* Even the orbitingmall space station appears to pose some minor problems We had judged that tho Soviets could use the reliableyslem to launch two Suyuz-iype spacecraft, which would then rendezvous and dock totation (hat could support three rscn for up to three months. However, thearnation inhich appeared totep towardastation, was only partially tocccsdiil because of radar failures during rendezvous ;ind ducking attempt that involved both automatic and manual procedures. These problems can piolwhly be worked out withinhort time.

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liava judged (or several years that (lie Soviets were nol coniiietiiu: willi llse timetable of (lie US Apollo program We have also estimated,that their manned lunar landing program carried |iriority over other ventures for the use ofunch vehicles and facilities. In. wc estimatedoding was unlikely to occur2 but that it could conceivably be attempted byecause of (be delay fn the schedule imposed by the c* plosion, the program has almost certainty been delayed for atear and probably snore.

number of statements, both public and private, by highly placed Soviet political and scientific officials have suggested that space stations will figure prominently in Ihe Soviet space program. The President of the Academy ofthe Director of (lie Institute of Space Research,ost of other knowledgeable persons have stressed the scientific and ecooooue value of space stations and have indicatedanned lunar landing would not be attempted in the near future. Brezhnev has said lhat space stations are Ihe "decisive means for the exploration of space" and "man's main road looviet statements have referred to economic applications such as Ihe discovery of new mineral and petroleum deposits, morntorinj of crophydxographic and occanographic surveys, and the survey of forestincluding fire spotting. Although Soviet stalcmcnls never mention Ihe potential military applications of (heiranned space station couldaseariety of military missions such as early warning, intelligence collectsoo. and command and control. TheCBM firings from Tyuralam on each ol three successive days whilr the Soyux fl,pacc-

ift were in thelead

us

to believe that the Soviets are developing some of these military applications1hose programs of space applications for civil and military purposes which have been generally successful are likely to receive continued support. There are numerous reports, however, of increasing pressure in the USSR to reduce spending on scientific projects Ihal do no', have direct, economic value. On the Oliver hand, an accomplishment that would serve in some degree tothe image of their space program would undoubtedly be welcome to the Soviet leaders. They may consider tlial the establishmentpace station would meet both the requirement of practicality and Ihe needs ofIn any case, for technical unisons alone, space stations of the Soyuz type arc likely to figure man; prominently than llie manned lunar landing in the Soviet space program for the neat few years

S In (lie near future, the Soviets maymall space station composed

of Soyuz-typ*ore inipiessive accomplishment would bo ihe orbitinguge space station0 pounds) bul lhat vendue must nwair the resolution of theoubles An attempt to orbit the very large space0 pounds) tould not be undertaken until the problems

'Specific rtVfills olfuture tj*<r'apiliililics will ho diicuiaol in the ap-|irii|irlnle niilitniy cttuiuu-i ll! In-ater Mil year.

i'aunch vehicle liavc been corrected. And, even if the mission were Riven overriding piioiily lor Ihe use ufehicles, (he life support system requiredaUon of that sire alto wouldacing item

We estimated Jasi yearanned eiicumlunar flight was not likely. The successful flight of Zondnowever,ehearsal foranned cmumlunar flight, indicating that as late as that time the Soviets were veorkiiig towardnsioo

Whatever tlie mar-term situation, we believe that the manned lunar landing mission remains on Ihe hooksenture to bo carried out in duo course But aside Irom the delay for technical reasons, other factors including ciorwniic considerations may serve to delay it even further. Moreover, the Soviets may consider thai further delay would not necessarily work to their disadvantage, particularly if (he landing should occurime when US manned space activity iseduced level and if the Soviets could advertise their missionirst stepore complicated enterpriseunar base).

sum, while the Soviets appear to be moving ahead in severaltheii 'pace piogram. including deep spacebout as wewould, holdets of NIErc advised that the judgments inas to the sequence and timing of Soviet attempts at mannedand manned lunar orbiting are no longer valid and that moreare not possible at this lime. Technical problems with both theand the SI.-I" booster willanned lunar landingarliest and probably beyond.unar landing missionthe hooksenture to be carried out in due course Meanwhile,of the Soyur type are likely to figure more prominently than thebinding in the Soviet space program for the not few years.

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