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Intelligence Report

Aims and Costs oj the Soviet Space Station Progra





CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY Directorate of Intelligence January0


Aims and Costs of the Soviet Space Station Program


From the beginning of their manned space program the Soviets havetrong interest in earth orbiting space stations. For example, as early1 Soviet scientists predicted that the USSR wouldpace stationrew of three to five in the. The Soviets may consider that tnia particular prediction has been fulfilled since they claim that the9 docking ofndtogetherrew oftheirst piloted experimental orbital station.

It is clear that the Soviets see this feat as only an initialdescribed it as "an important step in developing more powerful orbital scientific stations for various purposes." Party chief Leonidpeech at the Kremlin honoring the crews of Soyuz,nsserted that soviet scientists regard the construction of orbital stations as "man's main road to space" and

jVoCe: rais report was produced eolelu bu CIA It

Search and coordinated with the Offices of economic Research,

N^onal Estimates and Scientific Intelligence and the Foreign Missile and Space Analysis Center.



that large scientific orbiting laboratories "will be built." eemingly authoritative article in the August9 issue of Kryl'ya Rodinu (Wings of the Homeland, tha official journal of the Sovietorganization DOSAAF) predicted that, into space stations using the Soyuz, stations weighing "tens of tons" with active lifetimes of "several months" and stations weighing "hundreds of tons" with active lifetimes of "several years" will be built and put into orbit.

This report deals with three types of space stations which the Soviets may orbit during the coming decade. The first oftation composed of two Soyuz space capsules, isertainty. The0 pound station, is considered probable, and theound station,ossibility. This reportthe potential uses of such stations and estimates the cost of the programs. ummary appearn on




Soviet Views of Space S>

Space Stations and the bannedProgram 6

Estimated Spacejf.i

A Soyuz Space Station

0 Pound Space Station

ound Space Station

Summary . . .


Potential Soviet UtilizationSpace Stations 4

A Soviet Concept of the HookupSoyuz Spacecraft 8

Two Soviet Space


Projected Soviet Space Station

Characteristics and Costs 14



Discovery of new mineral and

petroleua deposits Monitoring of crop development,

plant diseases, and attacks by


Hydrographic survey, including pollution and flood control

Oceanographic survey, including the location of high density schools of fish oviet article has predicted that the annual catch of fish could be increased by up toercent by satellite spotting -)

Survey of forest resources, including forost fire spotting

Navigational control of ships and aircraft

Manufacturing which would take advantage of unique conditions of splice, such as growth of crystals and format ion of perfect spheres

Civilian Scientific Uses

Astronomica1 observatory outside thetmosphere

Study of near-earth spaceto sphere

Unique scientific laboratory where experiments can be conducted under conditions of weightlessness, near-perfect vacuum, and absolute zero temperature

Launching base for manned lunar

and interplanetary flight Study of high energy physics Study of long terra effects of space environment (radiation, weightlessness) on man

All the above have been mentioned in the Soviet press ae possible usespace station. The Soviets have not spectfically discussed military uses, but those listed below arc the kinds of applications ihey may foresee. The listed as possible joint usa$ kav& been discussed by the Soviets although their military implications have not.

i r)s

Direct and immediate observation and reporting on strategic and tactical areas of interest

Plat form for advanced sensors and detectors

Alternate command and control center

Joint Kilitary-Civi1ian Uses

Rem 1 e meteorology

Cosmonaut training Geographic and geological ob*ervat ion and mapp ing


Soviet views of Space Station Utilization

M. V. Keldysh, president of the USSR Academy of Sciences,efinitive statement in late Novep ber9 :

The Soviet space program callsermanent orbital station that could solve 'any cardinal problems in physics,and astrophysics and promote the practical affairs of mankind. Orbital stations could promote the most rational use of the wealth of the earth and advance geology, meteorology, agriculture, forestry, fishing, and oceanography to new heights. They will be important for voyages to the planets of the solar system and for further space exploration.

This statement isomplete summary of the civil usespace station as they have been postulated in the USSR. (The chart on the opposite page lists potential civilian and military

Although official statements and unofficialby soviet scientific and technical personnel and cosmonauts have dealt only with the civil aspectspace station program, past activity indicates that the stations will probably have military as well as civil uses. During the combined flight of Soyuz 6, 7, n October9 threeCBMs were fired from the Tyuratam missile test center. In each instance at least one of the manned Soyuz vehicles wasood position to observe the rangehead at launch time. These firingsix month hiatus in SS-7 firings from Tyuratam, and were probably scheduled as part of an experiment concerned with the early warning and intelligence collection of manned orbiting sauce stations.

Space Stations and the Manned Lunar Landing Program

Soviet scientists attending international meetings concerned with space flight have recently given several US scientists the impression that the USSR is giving priority to manned orbiting space stations. Thoin light of public statements like those of rezhnev and Koldysh noted above, is that the Soviets have downgraded their manned lunar landing program and have placed new emphasis on space stations. Keldysh has, in fact, been quotedestern news agency as saying during an interview in9 that "At the moment, we are concentrating wholly on the creation of large satellite stations. We no longer have any scheduled plans for manned lunar flights."

lt is too early, however, to conclude that space stations have been elevated to the priority position in tha Soviet space program. ress conference held after the flights of Soyuz, andeldysh said that the Soviet space program had no particular emphasis but was "advancingroad front." There is no diroct evidence that the Soviets are shifting resources from the facilities and hardwaredesigned toanned lunar landing to those elements intended toanned space station.

One reason for the public stress on space stations and de-emphasis of manned lunar landings may bu the success of the US Apollo program. By contrast, the Soviets have reportedly been having difficulties with the launch vehicles which could be used for tho manned lunar landing and they may be reluctant to discuss in detail any plansunar venture in the face of the uncertain reliability of these vehicles.

Anothur factor that may have persuaded the Soviets to emphasize their space station program in public media is the potential short run economic benefits they foresee anned orbltinq space station

in exi

:on or


s from ore are ndents,

by the US Embassy in Moscow, and by US scientists who have contact with their Sovietthere are significant pressures to limit expenditures for space exploration in the USSR. Some of the most effective pressure is probably being applied byof civil andrograms who would like to get part of the space budget reallocated to their own projects.

Estimated Space Station Costs

The stations postulated in this paper are not

fUtUre Soviet sPace stations. The Sovietside range of options and theyhave not worked out all the details of their plans for manned space stations. The postulations

ason what the Soviets have

stated about future stations, and the assumptions

of thGduration

ioarllth the.characteristics of the manned space stations, are consistent with Soviet capabil-

,qhe wei9ht, station lifetime, and size of crew for actual stations remain about the same as postulated, the costseries of three types of station should remain reasonably close to those estimated.

based on the technicalof Soviet space systems as they have been

described in both classified and unclassified Tereare incomplete, assump-S tPraccices have been made to enable cost estimates to bc completed. Theand assumed technical characteristics are then used with computerized cost estimating models developed for us use. The resulting cost estimates are for Soviet systems computed as though the systems were constructed in the US. This methode?ative TxT'Jhe anounteffort bein? upended by

fd oTki?^^

space station discussed below isillion


dollars, excluding launch vehicle development costs. The estimated costanned lunarexcluding the development costs for the launchis of approximately the samo magnitude. and cost data are summarized in the table on

A Soyuz Space Station

The Soviets claim that the docking ofn9 constituted the world's firstspace station (see illustration facing). ndhich were orbited in9 were almost certainly intended to repeat and expand upon this These spacecraft did not dock, however, and further attempts may have to be made to refineand docking techniquestation consisting of two Soyuz spacecraft is orbitedonger period of time. It would also be desirable to develop andeans of direct crew transfer from one docked Soyuz to the other without extravehicular activity.

The estimated costrogram to orbit stations made up of pairs of Soyuz spacecraft is the equivalent ofillion dollars, with funding spread over the. This does not include the development costs for either tho spacecraft or theooster, both of which have been used for other missions.

Included in theillion dollars are the expenditures for the five missions on which two Soyuz vehicles havo already been flown together. On two of these missions both craft were unmanned, on two both were manned, and in the fifth mission one capsule was manned and the other unmanned. The unmanned pairs of vehicles were successfully docked in both cases, as werendne of the manned pairs. The other two missions successfully rendezvoused but failed to dock.

Each mission of two Soyuzes is estimated to cost the equivalent ofillion dollars. The totalprogram cost allows for eleven paired flights--


three more flights to perfect rendezvous and docking techniques and crew transfer systems and three flights of operational space stations.

The remainder of the estimated cost is forand the development of experiments toat the station. Support costs

astronaut training, systems integration, recovery, and other indirect costs.

0 Pound Space Station

A program to0 pound space station would probably use theaunch vehicle and would cost aboutillion dollars spread over the. About half this total is the cost of launching eight Soyuz spacecraft as ferry vehicles for crew rotation and an additional twelve Soyuzes fitted out as cargo carriers for resupply. The one year duration in orbit0 pound space station makes such launches necessary.

The cost of the station itself, including its launching, represents only about one-fourth of the total program cost. The remainder is allocated for support, resupply, and the buildingrototype station for ground testing.

One factor which may delay this program is the poor performance record of the If the high failure rate of this launch vehicle continues, the estimated launch date may be pushed back considerably.

Aound Space Station

A space stationounds could be launchedew, more powerful launch vehicle which the Soviets are expected to have sometime during the Seventies. Expenditures requiredpace station of this size are estimated at slightly moreillion dollars, excluding development costs for the launch vehicle. tation, although nearly seven times as heavy as the0 pound station, would probably coat only about four times as much.


The costillion dollars for supportillion dollars for development and testing of system components. Resupplythes an integrated ferry vehicle for both resupply and crew rotationate of nine flights aestimated toillion dollarsive-year period. If the Soviets intend to launchtationosts would probably be spread over the.




The Soviet Union has long expressed an intense interest in manned orbital spaco stations, and re- cntly Soviet scientists have concentrated their public comments on the space station program almost to the exclusionanned lunar landing attempt. Technical difficulties with the Soviet manned lunar landing program are probably responsible for this emphasis on space stations.

The Soviets have stated that they expect to gain substantial oconomic benefits from manned spaceespecially in the area of natural resource management. They may also expect to use such stations for military purposes, although they have not publicly admitted this. In addition, if the Sovietscarryanned space station program they may partially recoup some of the prestige recently lost to tho US Apollo program, althougheat would not have an impact on world opinion comparable to that producedanned lunar landing.

If the USSR embarkspace station program similar to the one postulated in this paper, it may spend the equivalent ofillion dollars over tho nexthe estimated costanned lunar landingtheand launching of three progressively larger types of manned space stations:

The program cost for the first of these throeof two docked Soyuzestimated to be tho equivalent ofillion dollars. Such an operational station may be orbited for the first time


0 pound station to be launched35 and costingillion dollars is likely if the Soviets overcome their current problems with theaunch vehicle.

A station in theound class and costingillion dollars may be scheduled foreriod.

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