First Spacecraft Launched From Russian ‘Plesetsk’ Cosmodrome 55 Years Ago

On March 17, 1966, at 1.28 pm Moscow time, the first launch of the “Vostok-2” carrier rocket with the “Kosmos-112” spacecraft  (surveillance spacecraft “Zenit-2”) took place on the ‘Plesetsk’ cosmodrome, the press service of the Russian Ministry of Defence reports. A year later, the ‘Plesetsk’ cosmodrome took first place in the world in terms of the number of launches of unmanned spacecraft.  

In subsequent years, over 60 types of spacecraft were tested there. For 55 years, more than 30 per cent of the world’s spacecraft have been launched from the launchers of the planet’s northernmost cosmodrome. It is specified that 1,642 launches of carrier rockets “Vostok-2”, “Voskhod”, “Vostok-2M”, “Cosmos-2”, “Cosmos-3M”, “Tsyklon-3”, “Rokot”, “Molniya-M”, “Soyuz-M”, “Soyuz-U”, “Soyuz-2”, and “Angara” were carried out from ‘Plesetsk’. Also, 2,136 spacecraft for various purposes were launched into orbit. More than 500 launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were carried out from the cosmodrome and 13 strategic missile systems for the Strategic Missile Forces were tested.

It is noted that the ‘Plesetsk’ cosmodrome is geographically located on the territory of the Arkhangelsk region and is the northernmost cosmodrome in the world. The total area of ​​the cosmodrome is 176 thousand 200 hectares, stretching from north to south for 46 kilometres and from east to west for 82 kilometres. The cosmodrome has an extensive network of roads (300 km) and railways (282 km), aviation equipment and a first-class airfield.

On March 24, 2001, by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the Space Forces were created, and on July 1, 2001, the cosmodrome was withdrawn from the Strategic Missile Forces and included in the Russian Space Forces, reports. At present, the launch vehicles of the light class “Angara-1.2” and “Soyuz-2.1v”, the middle class “Soyuz-2.1a” and “Soyuz-2.1b”, as well as the heavy class “Angara-A5” operate at the cosmodrome.

Ru-Main, 17.03.2021 

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