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NIE 11-1-73

SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS

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CONTENTS
Page
.PRf:CIS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
THE ESTIMATE... .................. .......... . ... ...... . ...........

5

I. GENERAL RATIONALE AND EMPHASIS OF SOVIET SPACE
PROGRAMS ..... .. ............. ....... .. . .... . .......... . .....

5

II. PROGRAMS IN SUPPORT OF STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES . . . . . . . .
Reconnaissance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Surveillance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Communications . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ........ .
Weapons Support . .......... .. .. . . ............ . .... ..... .. .
Weapons .................................... . ........ . . .
· III. ECONOMIC APPLICATIONS .. .. .. . . . .. .. .. .. . .. . . . . . .. . .

6
6
7

8
8
9
9

IV. PRESTIGE PROGRAMS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Problems to be Overcome . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cooperation in Space Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Prospects for Prestige Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Manned and Related Space Stations ............. . .... . ...... ...
Space Shuttle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Unmanned Lunar Exploration .. .......... .. . ..... . ... . .. . .....
Manned Lunar Landing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Planetary Exploration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I

v.

10
13

15
15
16
16
16
17

FUTURE PRIORITIES ...................................... ..... 17

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SOVIET SPACE PROGRAMS
PRECIS
The USSR will continue to undertake space programs for a variety
of reasons:
-Supporting strategic military objectives by using existing military space support systems, and by developing new applications.
-Enhancing the image of Soviet scientific and technical prowess
by undertaking prestige space endeavors, such as manned,
lunar, planetary, and scientific programs.
-On a lower priority, increasing the use _of space for missions
with more immediate economic benefits, such as communications relay and earth resources surveys.
Currently, some three-fourths of Soviet activity in space (as meas' ured by number of launches) is in support of strategic-military objectives. The strategic-military space programs have been generally
successful, while some of the civilian prestige programs have run into
major problems. Well over 90 percent of the military missions have
1
been successful over the past 6 years, but only some 75 percent of the
prestige missions have accomplished their objectives. Moreover, the

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effort devoted to the strategic-military programs has been growing
relative to civilian programs.
Military space programs, which continues to rely heavily on proven
military hardware, are extensive in scope. The major Soviet space
effort in support of strategic objectives is the colJection of intelligence
data by photographic and other satellite reconnaissance S!'stems. A
second very important area is communications satellites. Other programs include navigation, geodetic, and meteorological systems. The
USSR has developed a satellite interceptor and a fractional orbital
born barclmen t system.
Performance of military space systems will improve as later generation spacecraft become operational. These are likely to include tactical
as well as strategic applications. New systems for warning, intelligence
collection, and communications are being developed.
By contrast, Soviet manned space and other prestige programs requiring advanced technology have run into disastrous problems, and
the USSH has lost its coveted image of predominance in space. In the
prestige programs, problems have cropped up throughout the cycle
, of development and in many technical areas. These problems do not
: result from inattention or inadequate effort. Rather, they seem to be
a consequence of inadequate design, fabrication, instrumentation, and
quality control, and of attempting to cover up, rather than to address
· and solve, fundamental problems. These are failures of technology in
. the first instance, but they are more fundamentally failures of management inherent in the Soviet system.
In this situation, the Soviets have entered into more extensive co, operation with the West to enhance the image of Soviet prowess in
space and to gain technological know-how. Soviet participation in the
Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), which has been entered into also
as one element of the broader policy of detente, will be handicapped
by secrecy and bureaucratic lethargy, but we believe that, as long
as detente is attractive, the Soviets will find ways to keep ASTP alive.
,The USSR will continue and perhaps expand somewhat its program
of politically-rewarding but relatively uncomplicated cooperative ventures in space with countries other than the US.

2

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We expect more manned Soyuz flights, and a continuation of Salyut
flights, in near earth orbit over the next few years. We believe such
advanced space endeavors as a manned lunar landing and a large
manned space station continue to be Soviet objectives, but progress
toward them will be slowed by the weaknesses in the USSR's technical
and managerial base, and they are unlikely to be achieved until
the 1980s. For the remainder of the 1970s, the Soviets will also conduct various unmanned missions to the moon, Mars, Venus, and perhaps Mercury. They could attempt a Jupiter or Jupiter/Saturn fly-by
as early as about 1975, and a more ambitious series of Jupiter missions
in the early 1980s.
After a period of rapid growth in the 1960s, Soviet funding of
space programs is estimated to have leveled off in the 1970s, and will
probably continue at approximately present levels for the next few
years. As other elements of the Soviet economy make increasing claims
on high-qua1ity technical resourc,es, space programs-particularly the
prestige programs-may not enjoy their past favored position in competing for these resources. But Soviet space programs almost certainly
will not suffer significant long-term cuts in funding.

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Figure 1

S.rniAncr SL-Ii
I~.,,.....

Growth of Soviet Space Programs

cs:; .... ·J

P•otoorollllc-<tbttd Sl-~
j-i§·..,,-o"'*'"'"'"'-:··1
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designators, nina boosters as indicald:

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1957

4

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61

70

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71

n

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THE ESTIMATE
I. GENERAL RATIONALE AND
EMPHASIS OF SOVIET SPACE
PROGRAMS
l. In the early years, Soviet space programs
used hardware already available and relied
entirely on boosters developed as ballistic missiles. Missions were predominantly thosesuch as . the manned, lunar, and planetary
flights-that could be and were publicized.
There were also scientific programs for exploration of space near the earth. (Figure 1,
opposite, portrays the growth of the major
Soviet space programs as represented by
their flight history. Current Soviet space
launch (SL) vehicles are shown in Figure 2
on page 10) . This approach provided a series
of space flights that simultaneously made
headlines·, had a high probability of success,
and held costs down. The clear intent, for
the most part, was to enhance an image of
Soviet stientific, technical, and military
prowess, ·~nd the earlier missions were a key
element in the growth of Soviet prestige.
2. In the mid-l960s, the Soviets broadened
their earlier approach by launching, for practical military and economic uses, satellites that
were much more widely based in technology
and objectives. Some of these programs, such
as those for communications and weather reporting, were not amenable to extensive publicity. Some could not be publicized at allsuch as those for photographic and ELINT
reconnaissance, radar calibration, intercepting satellites, and providing navigational sup-

port. These satellites continued to use military boosters that had been well-proven; well
over 90 percent of the missions have been successful in the past six years. Since the mid1960s the majority of Soviet space launches
have been for satellites with military- and intelligence-related missions, with the result
that today some three-fourths of Soviet activity in spa·.:c (as measured by number of
launches) supports the USSR's strategic military objectives. These programs are currently
being supplemented by newer programs now
in the development cycle-such as a radar
reconnaissance satellite and what may be a
high altitude surveillance spacecraft.
3. In order to move beyond their earlier
publicized successes in space, the Soviets had
in the late 1960s to develop larger and more
complicated space boosters and spacecraft.
This new hardware had serious performance
problems, and Soviet prestige programs consequently did not move forward as expected.
Only some 75 percent of the prestige missions
have achieved their objectives in the past six
years. The US was at the same time succeeding in its advanced programs-especially
Apollo-with the result that the USSR lost
its early image of predominance in space.
4. In addition to its strategic military and
prestige aspects, the Soviet space effort has
had economic objectives, but so far these appear to have a much lower priority. The programs that provide economic benefits do so
for both military and civilian users.

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5. Soviet expenditures for space programs
reflect, these priorities and years of growth.
Total Soviet annual spending for space is estimated to have increased from the equivalent
of about $800 million in 1960 to the equivalent of about $8 billion in 197!.1 The growth
of the military-strategic share from about 15
percent of the total in 1960 to about 40 percent today reflects the growing importance
of strategic programs. 2 For the most part,
strategic-military systems have used existing
hardware and technology in standardized pay1
The 'estimated Soviet space co~ts given here indude the costs of hardware, launch operations, construction of facilities, tracking and data acquisition,
:l()rninistration, and research and development for
both miiitary and civilian programs. These costs represent the cost of producing similar systems in the
US. Ce~eralized cost models were used, which attribute US developmental practices and technique~
to the Soviet systems. Thus there are major uncertainties in the absolute costs of the overall Soviet space
program; and these values should be used with caution. We have far more confidence in the overall
trends.
Revised estimates of the pace and timing of Soviet
space programs, necessitated by the stretchout of
some major elements of the Soviet effort, have resulted in a somewhat lower estimate of annual outlays than in the past. The stretchout has been
only partially balanced by Soviet development 'lf
some programs (geodetic, radar reconnaissance, and
photographic-related) not previously estimated and
by higher launch rates (two Salyut-class satellites
and four Mars probes in 1973). The estimates appear
higher, however, because they are now expressed in
1972 dollars, representing an inflation of some 20
percent over 1968 dollars used previously.
·
' There is much overlapping and sharing of hardware, facilities, and outputs between military and
civilian components of the Soviet space programs.
All applications programs-for civilian or military
users-use military boosters, b:ues, and personnel.
The allocation of resources to military or civilian
programs in this Estimate is based on whether a
similar program in the US would be funded under
the Department of Defense or NASA, except in the
case of Molniya and Meteor satellites, whose costs
have beeri divided 7fJ military, Y.a civilian. The allocation does not attempt to estimate just how much
is actually funded by the Soviet Ministry of Defense.

6

loads and boosters and thus cost less per
launch than the publicized systems. Many of
the publicized systems-such as Salyut and
Lunokhod-ha vc used hardware nnd technology which required heavy investment in
research and development.:!
6. Annual Soviet space launches have
leveled off at close to 1971 levels of some
90 launches a year, and estimated annual expenditures have remained close to the equivalent of about $8 bil~ion. By fnr the largest
annual outlays since 1971-about $3 billionhave been for man-related programs (civil and
military) and the associated boosters. Salyutclass space stations have absorbed the greatest
portion of this total. The next largest outlays
were for existing photographic and ELINT
reconnaissance programs, which absorb about
one-third as much, followed in order by
planetary, lunar, and earth applications programs.

II. PROGRAMS IN SUPPORT OF
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

7. The major Soviet space effort devoted to
military and strategic objectives, involving
some 40 launches a year, is the collection
of intelligence data from other nations and
areas of the world through the use of reconnaissance satellites. A second. very important area is the continuing development
and maintenance of reliable communications
satellites. Additional major strategic roles are
navigation support for Soviet ships and the
collection of worldwide weather data.
Recon no issance
8. The Soviets have several types of satellites for the collection of photographic and
• Several recent prestige efforts have been quite
expensive, compared to strat\. s :
· lrt act.ivities.
The Salyut, Mars probes, an ;
are estimated
to have cost on the order of
ti
as much per
launch as a photoreconnaissance satellite.

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DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

electronic data, and they are working on a
new radar satellite system. The plrotograplric
reconnaissance systems :~rc used to keep track
of foreign military forces and installations, as
well as for close monitoring of crisis situations
such as the Pakistan/Indian conflict in 1971
and the latest Mideast war, during which the
Soviets launched 6 photorcconnaissancc satellites in 17 days. Since the satellites have relatively short life times, about 30 are launched
each· year. Such frequent launches provide
flexibility, because the mission targeting can
be optimized for specific targets, and a satellite can be recovered after a short period without giving up coverage. But the relatively
small amount of film carried in each mission
limits coverage and the rapidity with which
previously unknown developments can be
idcnti.fied. Moreover, the resolution of the
sensors-even on the high-resolution systemmay limit the usefulness of the imagery for
detail~d technical intelligence. Soviet photographic reconnaissance satellites are expected
to improve in resolution, and perhaps in film
recovery flexibility, in order to meet requirements to cover Communist China, crisis situations, and-above all-US weapons developments and compliance in strategic arms agreements.
'

9. Soviet ELTNT satellites are more clearly
understood than in previous years. Second
genera.tion ELINT satellites now monitor predominantly ocean and coastal areas. Third generatioll; ELINT satellites-still in developmental testing-are now used mostly over land
areas, but are expected to be used mostly
over otean areas in the future. These satellites appear to be able to contribute directly
to detecting and, in the case of the most
modern system, locating foreign naval ships.
Moreover, they monitor various early warning
radars. Major anticipated advances include expanded coverage and refinement of the technical d~ta that they collect on radar targets

so as to improve identification and technical
analysis.
10. The Soviets in the past few years have
been testing :t radar reconnaissance satellite.
The spacecraft uses a side-looking radar that
can detect large surface ships, such as aircraft carriers. This system has a potential
for providing targeti ng data to combatants
at sea. The -combination of data from such a
system with data from other sources, such as
ELINT satellite data, would be highly useful
in targeting antiship missiles. The flight tests
of the radar satellite to date more than likely
represent de velopmental work, as opposed
qualification of an operational system.

C

Wut the Soviets probably will attempt
to ~lop a version of this satellite that could
be used operationally to obtain information
on small ocean areas, and may be able to do
so by the 1975-1977 period. If the Soviets
choose to develop a more capable radar reconnaissance satellite or a radar surveillance
satellite for broad continuing ocean coverage,
it probably could not appear until later.
Surveillance 4

11. The characteristics of a satellite
launched in late 1972 and of another launched
early in November, 1973, suggest the Sovietl;
may now be working on a high altitude, surveillance-type satellite. The most logical
choice of mission-based on our perception
of Soviet needs and the probability that the
Soviets have conducted missile launch detection experiments-would be a system for
' A surveillance satellite provides broad, w ide-rangeing, and continuous or frequent• coverage of a portion
of the earth. A reconnaissance satellite, on the other
hand, provides limited coverage of a small area of
the earth, and may not do so frequently.

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detection of missile launches. However, until
we better undcr.~tand this program, we a n.•
not able to gauge its true mission, its significa nce, or its time schedule. In any case, we
believe that the Soviets will develop and introduce early warning satellites. Other areas
of possible Soviet advances include ocean surveillance (with greater coverage and longer
mission times than the radar reconna issa nce
system now under development) , detection of
nuclear detonations, and SIGINT surveillance.
The latter two types of satellites would work
best in high altitude orbits.

commtmications until the}' arc ··dumped"' to
a specific consunH:r.
Weapons Support
15. Other types of Soviet ~atcllitcs s11pport
deployed weapons systems.

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Communications
12. The Soviets have in the past few years
greatly expanded, in space and on the ground,
their u's e of satellite systems for the relay of
communications. The usc of the Molniya 1
high altitude system has expanded with the
dev~mcnt of a Moscow-Washington hot
lineL

13. Each Molniya 1 satellite has a limited
relay capability, and a large deployment
of satellites is required to fulfill the above
functions in addition to growing civil communications requirements. We believe that
Molniyci 2 satellites, now in the early op·
erational stag~, will eventually take over the
bulk of ~oviet Civil and military satellite communications and provide orders of magnitude
increases in satellite relay capacity within the
USSR. Tactical applications might appear by
the 197S-1977 period. When the geostationary
satellite Statsionar becomes operational, perhaps by, about 1975, it will furnish another
major level of communications support.
14. The Soviets now have also deployed extensively, small satellites that probably store

a

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-The Soviets have relied. at least in part,
on the mapping capabilities of their satellite reconnaissance cameras for geodetic
data for targeting missiles. Over the last
few years, the Soviets have deployed
optical sites at various locations in the
USSR, and at research sites in Antarctica.
One purpose of these sites is accurate
tracking of a series of satellites specifically developed for geodetic purposes.
-Special satellites are also used as targets,
probably for the calibration[

J

-Weather satellites-named in the Meteor
series~llect

meteorological information, presumably from all over the world.
The information was probably fi rst received by military installations, but the
Soviet Hydrometeorological Service now
receives weather data for civil use.

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Weapons
16. The USSn has developed a satellite interceptor and a fractional orbital bombardment system (the SS-9 Mod-3) .

J
J

17. The number of launches per year in
support of strategic goals has leveled off in
the 1970s, after a rapid growth in the 1960s.
'v

Related Interests

hile these systems will continue to e•1joy
the same priorities as the military weapons
systems, the general level of launch activity
is not expected to pick up in the 1970s. In
fact, the prospects are that, as satellites grow
in capability (more time in orbit and more
film time per reconnaissance mission, for example) , the number of military space launches
may decline while the number of active satellites in orbit will grow. New military applications and systems will continue to be
developed, however, in the areas of reconnaissance, surveillance, communications, and
weapons support. These are likely to include
tactical applications. The total effort in terms
of resources expended is likely to remain
about the same.

Ill. ECONOMIC APPliCATIONS

)

J

18. Although Soviet activities in space have
had relatively little influence on the Soviet
economy, the potential economic benefits
have grown. It is probable that current economic applications will continue and that new
ones will be introduced. The future extent
and value of these applications of space technology, however, are not clear. The Soviets
are likely to utilize satellites even more extensively as a means for improving communications, predicting weather, and studying
earth resources. The Soviets may try to utilize
economic applications--especially earth resources studies-in their relations with less
developed nations.
I

19. The potentially most rewarding area is
the use of satellites to conduct studies of the

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earth's surface and its natural resources. This
has already been done to a certain extent in
the manned program, and may have been
done as well-to a very limited degree-with
a special series of photographic-related satellites. Such studies have application for, among
other objectives, locating new mineral deposits, understanding earthquake phenomena,
and identifying fishing areas and the effects
of pollution. They also can be used to survey
forests, arable land, crops, water resources,
and to upgrade estimates of national resources. The Soviets probably have also used
photoreconnaissance satellites to provide information of the breakup of ice in tlte northern
sea routes.
20. Satellites used in support of strategic
goals also play an importa~t econo~ic role.
-Weather observations based on satellite
data are more comprehensive and timely,
_.and cover greater geographical areas,
than ground facilities. Satellite data
are especially useful to agriculture and
shipping as well as in warning of severe
stonns. The Soviets clearly are following
the West's lead in this area and wiU continue to use weather information from
non-Soviet sources as well as their own.
-

Communications satellites provide a
much less expensive means of relaying
long distance communications in all
fo.nns, and are particularly attractive
within the USSR, where the distances
between settled areas--especiaJly east
of the Urals-are great. About 80 percent of the country is north of the USCanadian border, and in many areas
severe winter weather precludes the use
of most ground-based relay systems. The
Soviets have been usin~ relay satellites
for yearsC
We expect the volume
of data to increase in the next 10 years,

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Figure 2

Current Family of Soviet Space Launch Vehicles·

lonar

Pl•netarr
4,000·10.000 lb

.A.
II

II

Muned
Photoreconnaisun"
14,000 lb

Sciealiflc

COIIUliDnfcrtlau

Cor~muniutioas

PIJadrry
Z,OOII-4.000"111

[lial Rrcanuiuuce
lluivaliaa
ASU

A

Geodetic

calibutto.
Scienlif~t

•~ooitb

AOOib

' laoncb Vehicles flo loager Used Are: Sl-1. Sl·2. SL-5. Sl·l. a1111 Sl-10

ll'ote: Miuiou ud wriGhts cltd are tJpiCII.

10

Rrdar

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5.000· 9.1100 Ill

~

Spree Slrlioa
42,000 lb

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especially as technical cooperation with
other nations grows.
21. There has been scant evidence of spinoff of Soviet space technology into the civilian
economy. There is growing emphasis on the
usc of space-as well as space technology-in
the . economy, but the one example touted
so f~r (some medical applications) is not significant. T~1e Soviets clearly arc trying, however. We expect to see some examples of the
utilization of space technology in the civilian
economy over the next 10 years, but the
secrecy surrounding the space program will
limit this process more than in the West.
IV. PRESTIGE PROGRAMS

22. Although the strategic, economic, and
scientific applications programs contribute to
the i'm age of the USSR as a modern and technologically advanced nation, this reputation
rests largely on the highly publicized successes in their early manned space, lunar,
and ·planetary programs. Soviet accomplishments in these areas, however, relative to
the t)S, have been steadily less impressive
since the mid-1960s. At the same time the
US successes in space-especially the Apollo
and Skylab programs-have enhanced the
US image, a very poor Soviet record has contributed to the decline of theirs. Soviet leadership in space is no longer the accepted public
judgment, as it once was, even in the USSR.
23. The USSR thus is in a difficult position.
Given the earlier successes, it cannot afford
to alJow the US to appear to become predominant in all areas of space endeavor, yet
it cannot now compete with the US because
'
of severe
technical and managerial limitations.
24. The Soviets have attempted to maintain
an aura of success about their space program
by exaggerating the success of their ventures
a nd by playing down or ignoring their failures.
Even internally, they have shown a tendency

to try to leapfrog failures in order to push
on. Only in the most obvious of c:~ses, such
as the cosmonauts• deaths in Soyuz 11, have
they admitted difficulties. In order to enhance
this image of success: the Soviets use the
Cosmos name to cover most aspects of their
space programs. Where the mission is not
obvious, the spacecraft is given a number,
nnd the announcement provides little or no
inforrnatio'l as to its mi~sion. This system of
nomenclature has been used to cover not
only military-related launchings, but also failures as well. It has created an image of an
active, successful program, when in fact there
are many problems. Even in progrnms which
are open, and where it would seem desirable,
or at least harmless, for the Soviets to release
technical information, they have been historically reluctant to do so. This reluctance stems
partly from the Soviet practice of security
and compartmentation, and partly from a desire to hide their limitations.

Problems to be Overcome
25. The problems plaguing Soviet manned
space, lunar, and planetary programs during
the past few years have appeared largely in
just those programs which were trying to refurbish the Soviet image and to advance the
frontiers by using new space launch vehicles
and spacecraft. (See Figure 2, opposite. ) The
problems crop up throughout the cycle of program development-in planning, design, materials production, test, and evaluation-and
in general program management.
26. That these problem areas are so pervasive is, in general, a result of the fact that Soviet technology lags the West, in most of
the areas related to space activities, by some
five years. In particular, the problems stem
from the manner in which Soviet space
programs evolved. Early Soviet successes,
using large cryogenic boosters, which were
built to carry unminiaturized nuclear weapons,

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did not for.ce the early development of improved boosters with high energy upper stages
and of the lightweight, small size technology
that the US developed. These advances in
propulsion, electronics, and materials, which
characterize US programs, now furnish the
basis for the US lead in prestige programs.
27. Limitations at each stage in the development cycle, and in many technologies,
compound the problems of the Soviet prestig<>
spac;.:! programs, but design limitations are
certainly fundamental. These are best exemplifi4d by problems in Soviet spacecraft.
From the beginning their spacecraft designs
have been oversimplified, and they have
failed to develop separate redundant systems
to provide alternatives for inflight emergencies. Soviet spacecraft arc crudely constructed, have limited instrl

Related Interests

.nentation, and,
for manned vehicles, reflect little concern for
crew comfort. Even after many years, the
Soviets still use .outmoded technology, and
their techniques and materials have become
inadequate for the complex tasks now being
attempted.
28. Bi.1t the designers have to use the technology and materials available. In this context, flight hardware must be differentiated
from laboratory equipment. Soviet scientists
and engineers have a high degree of competence in developing advanced technology
items in the laboratory, but production
items freq~ently lack the quality of original
single-piece hardware. Lack of quality control
in manufacturing crops up specifically in Soviet development of those technologies which
have en~bled the US to push ahead in high
energy propulsion and in miniaturized electronics. Shortcomings in the latter are felt
across a number of vital areas-not only in
hardware to control boosters and spacecraft,
but in particular in the sensors, instrumentation, communications, and data processing

12

that allow the causes of failures to be pinpointed.
29. The Soviets' relative lack of rdincd instnnncntation to determine the cause of failures-together with inadequate quality control-arc the prime reasons that complex new
flight test programs have had repeated failures
before successes are achieved. The SL-12/13
space booster, used for the Salyut l:mnchcs
and the Mars probes, went through a scric.~
of failures before it became reliable. It appears that ground testing has tended to b<.•
more of a go/ no-go affair with potential failures remaining undiscovered until actual
flight. This results in an "onion peeling" effect,
in which the solution of one problem only
reveals another. The Soviets arc now attempting to correct this situation with improved
telemetry systems and procurement of more
simulation equipment, but they are late in
doing so.
30. In addition to the problems of design,
fabrication, and test instrumentation, problems show up in the management and control
of the spaceflight itself. These are most apparent in manned missions-probably because
of their scope and complexity and their requirement for quick resolution of problems.
31. Limitations are also found far back up
the program management ladder from spaceflight operations. It is very difficult in the
USSR to introduce new types of production
cr radically new materials into existing facilities, but this had to be done if the Soviet space
industry were to expand beyond ·the few
original dedicated facilities with the top
choice of engineers and workers. Compounding the problem, supporting industries adequate to provide the special equipment, parts,
and advanced technical know-how are in relatively short supply in the USSR. Soviet problems can perhaps be laid, in part, to their
failure to take advantage, in the prestige space
programs, of some of the advanced manage-

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merit concepts and techniques used in the
West.
32. More fundamentally, they have failed
to make the Soviet space program work as
well as it should because they had to work
within the Soviet system. For example, Soviet
management is often done by committee.
Members are from various parts of the Soviet
pO\vcr structure, they appear to each other as
approximate equals, and there is no apparent
mechanism for the enforcement of solutions
once a problem is recognized and resolved.
33. The Soviets are certainly aware of the
d amage that failure to solve these problems
d oes to thei r national image. There is evidence
that extensive basic research supports the
space effort. Manned space, lunar, and planetary programs receive the best support from
the technical institutes, a·nd they have been
generously funded. The failures thus have not
come as a result of inattention or inadequate
effor~ . Rather they seem to have been a consequence of attempting early on to continue to
achic.ve success with minimum effort, and to
cover up, rather th.a n adequately to address
and solve, fundamental problems. These failures are failures, in the first place, of technology, but more fundamentally they are failures of management inherent in the Soviet
system .

Cooperation in Space Programs
34. The problems the Soviets have encountered in their manned space programs
have caused them to be increasingly more
open in their approach to space efforts that
do no_t have a strategic impact and to look
more favorably on cooperation with other
countries. With the example of the US before
them, the Soviets have released pictures,
models, and actual hardware at an increasing
rate. This trend has been a function of increasing nu,mbers of cooperative programs, of the
need felt by Soviet scientists to demonstrate

their competence, and of the growing sophistication of the average person regarding space
matters.
35. The first US-USSR agreement on cooperation in space was for exchange of weather
data and was arrived at in 1962, but the US
received little Soviet data until the bunch of
the Meteor 1 satellite in 1969. Actual exchange
of information has also lagged .in other areas
covered by agreements, such as in a long overdue joint review of space biology and medi- '
cine, and in erratic cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space. The thaw in EastWest relations over the past few years has,
however, reduced the political barriers to cooperation.
36. The US-USSR agreement on cooperation in space, signed at the Moscow Summit
in May 1972, to conduct a test docking mission
in earth orbit in July 1975, marked a new level
of potential cooperation. As the Apollo-Soyuz
Test Project {ASTP) is now conceived, a
US-designed docking mechanism will be installed on a docking module which will also
serve as an airlock and transfer corridor betwl!en the US and Soviet spacecraft. During
the docking period, which may last as long
as two days, the crews will visit each others'
spacecraft and perform a few experiments.
37. Such cooperative activities in space
must appear attractive to Moscow for a variety
of reasons:

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-As a part of the broader policy of detente,
the ASTP and other cooperative agreements are indications of easing EastWest tension.
-The ASTP project contributes to the public image of Soviet technological equality
with the US by suggesting that, despite
the absence of manned lunar expeditions,
the USSR is on a scientific and technical
par with the US in its space programs.

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-Space programs in ~cneral are a subject
of world-wide popnlar interest, and cooperative activities promote a favorable
i1rtagc of the USSH in general.
-The US is the source from which the Soviets can learn a great deal in terms of
scientific, technological, and managerial
kn'ow-how, so that they can attempt to
close the gap between the space programs of the two countries. The USSR
also lags behind other Western countries
in most of these areas.
38. Nevertheless, the Soviet decision to engage in the project probably was contested,
and appro\•ed only when it could be demonstrated "that it held more advantages for the
ussn. There were certainly strong arguments
in the Kremlin against such an undertaking,
as well as the usual extensive bureaucratic
problem's of resolving policy questions among
diverge1~t scientific, industrial, military, and
political interests. Cooperative activities must
appear imattractive for at least some of th!'
following reasons:
-The USSR remains sensitive about disclosing most of the details of its space
programs, which remain classified in the
USSR, largely because of the close linkages between the military and civilian
space efforts.
-They are a\vare of their technical shortcomings, reluctant to expose them, and
reluctant to risk public .failure in such
undertakings.

- I f the venture is a success, credit will
have to be shared with political enemies.
39. These bureaucratic problems have not
been disposed of; they have merely been
pushed into the background. Moreover, the
technical and managerial problems experienced by· the Soviets in their space programs
in general, and in the Salyut mission in par-

14

ticular, will not be solved easily. All these
problems will crop up to present practical obstaclc·s in achicvin~ agreement, and in meeting
schedules and goals. But we believe ASTP
stems from detente, and as long as detente
is attractive, the Soviets will find ways to keep
ASTP alive. The specific problems will have>
to be worked through. and the Sovid leadership will certainly sec to it that ASTP gets
the necessary priorities in tcnns of technical
and managerial talent.
40. Moreover, even though there still ar('
problems with the Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz
technology is no longer at the forefront of
Soviet space research. It is the Salyut and
related programs which arc most in trouble
in the USSR, not Soyuz. The Soyuz program
is now over six years old, and Soyuz 12 retested
some of the old approaches. In addition, the
ASTP mission plan and hardware development
have been steadily changed to take technical
and managerial pressure off the Soviets. The
most important new hardware development in
ASTP is the docking module, and this is the
responsibility of the US. The Soviets thus
are taking minimum risk to achieve maximum
gain.
41. If Soviet-US cooperation goes beyond
ASTP to more advanced projects, the Soviets
will be pressed closer to the limits of their
technical and managerial talents. It is likely,
however, that the Soviets will learn from the
US as they go, keep .the projects within their
capabilities (or alter them as necessary), and
continue to benefit as much as possible from
US know-how and world publicity while giving a minimum in return. Until they can undertake major new projects successfully on their
own-and their technology to do this is now
at least five years behind that of the US--:the Soviets need a US cooperation program
to help bolster their technology and prestige,
and will continue to promote such cooperation.

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12. In addition to its dealings with the US,
the ussn has in the past sought, and continue.<;
to seck, space cooperation with other noncommunists states:
-The extensive Franco-Soviet program, including placement of a French laser reflector on the moon, is one such effort.
Again, political as well as scientific considerations were important.
-The USSR has been similarly engaged
In cultivating scientific and political ties
with India. A forthcoming Soviet project
to launch an Indian scientific satellite in
i974 will serve to further that end.
-The Soviets also are beginning cooperative programs with the European Space
Research Organization ( ESRO ), West
Germany, and Sweden. These efforts are
still small but are likely to grow. It is
quite possible that cooperative efforts
with still more na tions will begin in the
future.
43. The USSR's cooperation in space has
also included ventures with the Warsaw Pact
nations, beginning in the late 1960s. These
started as technically trivial efforts at public
relations, but recently have grown and have
embraded other Socialist nations as well. The
overall effort now is to the point that specific
satellites--named in the Intercosmos seriesare launched in cooperative projects. Eleven
of these launches have occurred. This effort,
too, has political, as ·well as technical and public relations aspects, although there is less
potential Soviet gain in cooperation with Pact
nations "than with the West. Nonetheless, we
expect the effort to continue for the foreseeable futl.ue at about the current level.
44. The outlook for cooperation in general
is for a continuation of the trend that has seen
the Soviets become increasingly open with
respect to space activities, including the handling of their own space program and their

dealings with other nations. Cooperative
efforts with countries other than the US , as
well as with the US, will eontinue and expand to some degree in the future. We do not
believe, however, that the ussn will try to
undertake truly complex space pro~rarns with
countric.<> other than the US. The eost alone
of major space efforts limits the p:-~.-ticipants,
ancl the US is the only nation with :l major
space program of potential usc to the USSR.

' Programs
Prospects for Prestige
45. As has been noted above, the Soviets
arc hindered by the fact that the USSH has
not created the necessary technical and managerial base to keep up with the US in the
prestige programs. These limitations w·ill further delay schedules for manned space stations, manned lunar landings, and planetary
exploration.

Manned and Related Space Stations
46. The disastrous Salyut 1/Soyuz 11 mission, which ended in the death of three cosmonauts, and the three successive failures of other
Salyut type spacecraft have set the Salyut
program back at least two years. Investigations carried on Salyut 1 included earth resources surveys, astronomical studies, medical
and biological studies, atmospheric and meteorological investigations, and other scientific
experiments. These were designed to test the
feasibility of the station for a variety of uses.
Salyut 2 was different from Salyut 1, had[
·
I a larger area
of solar arrays. While the SO"ticts could develop and operate separate civil and military space stations, as might be suggested
by Salyut 1 and 2, it seems equally likely that
the competition for space re.<>ources might
eventually result in an amalgamation of
missions.
47. Although a successful ASTP will shore
up the Soviet space image to some extent, it

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will not in fact demonstrate Soviet technical
parity with the US in manned space flight.
The Soyu7. is n remnant from the earlyto mid-1960s Soviet technology. While it is
being modified as well as possible, it is primitive compared to Apollo. And although the
Soviets touted Salyut as the doorway to
manned orbital spaceflight in the 1970s, it is
technically far behind th!! US Skylab, and.has
yet to fly a wholly successful mission. We expect to 'sec continuing Salyut missions, to resolve Soviet problems in manned space stations, over the next couple of years. We also
expect to sec more manned Soyuz space flights
with specific, limited objectives that can be
used to demonstrate an on-going Soviet capability before ASTP. Thereafter Salyut will
probably be the focus of Soviet manned space
flight until about 1977, and perhaps longer.
48. A persistent theme in Soviet public
statements and literature has been that intermediate ( Salyut) size orbital stations will be
used to build a larger station by linking
modules. in orbit. But before this can be done,
there are severe technical problems to be resolved which require additional developmental
advanceS and substantial overall improvements in systems reliability. With optimum
speed and success in resolving these problems,
a manned station of Salyut-like linked modules, maintaining successive 6-9 man crews
for several months at a time, could be in operation by 1980. Soviet performance to date does
not, however, engender confidence that these
problems will be resolved soon enough to meet
that date.

the US type migh t appear. The electronics,
materials, and system test problems arc beyond Soviet capabilities now. Any attempts
to build a reusable shuttle would be plagued
by problems. Between now and the 1980s, the
Soviets will continue to use ferry spacecraft
and existing launch vehicles. But the Soviets
also may introduce spacecraft and/or booster
components that arc reusable after a fashion,
caii the combination a "space shuttle~, and
claim another space first. A desire to reduce
the cost per launch and the Soviet commitment
to a manned space station program may make
development of a truly reusable shuttle attractive to the Soviets during the 1980s.

Unmanned Lunar Exploration
SO. The Soviet unmanned lunar programalmost completely preempted by tlie Apollo
program prior to its termination-is expected
to continue at its current low level for several
years. The success of the two lunar rovers,
Lunokhods 1 and 2, might prompt the Soviets to try more ambitious unmanned lunar
ventures. These flights-such as a dual mission of a rover and a sample return payloadmight occur in the mid-1970s using two SLl2s. Such lunar missions as the Soviets attempt
will allow more complex missions and advances in scientific exploration, as well as opportunities to demonstrate technical competence. The low level effort will grow as the
Soviets make progress toward their own
.manned lunar landing.

Manned Lunar Landing

'

Space Shuttle
49. Some Soviet space officials have expressed interest in a US-type reusable space
shuttle and have indicated a desire for such a
program. But the USSR is many years from
achieving such a shuttle--so far in fact that
we cannot predict when a reusable shuttle of

16

SL It still appears that the Soviets will make
an effort to land men on the moon and return
them. But the failures, long slippage, and apparent low priority connected with the program make it unlikely that a specific schedule
exists. The timing of a manned lunar mission
) If the
hinges on the success of [
(
Jtaunches ov~r the next few years are

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succcssf ul, and the Soviets attach a high
priority to the program, a manned lunar mission could still take place by the end of the
1970~. But any major failures of [
will almost certainly push the mission into the
1980s. The present priorities appear to emphasize the development of manned space
stations.

J

.P lanetary Exploration
52. The impact of the planetary and lunar
efforts in the early space program were
enormous. They intensified the feelings that
the Soviets were the dominant space power
in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As the US
program developed, however, Soviet deep
space feats had relatively less impact on the
world, After a long series of failures and
partial failures, the Soviets, during 1972, finally
achieved a landing on Venus with a spacecraft
which transmitted multiple measurements that
could be read and interpreted.
53. New spacecraft were launched toward
Mars in July and August 1973 by the SL-12
launch vehicle. The higher energy requirements of the 1973 Mars window compounded
the wdight problems, and the Soviets decided
to split the missions and use separate landers
and orbiters; thus four vehicles were sent on
their way to Mars, rather than two as in 1971.
The 1975 launch window to Mars involves still
greater launch energy requirements and approach velocities than those in 1973. Because
of this, the Soviets may forego the 1975 window, but will probably use the 19Tl window,
which will have less stringent energy requirements than the 1975 window.
54. The SL-6 and Venus spacecraft can be
used throughout the 1970s to support a variety
of Venus missions. It is more likely, however,
that the Soviets will use the SL-12. The Soviets
have discussed Venus upper atmosphere
probes using balloons. These might be within
the present Soviet capability and might occur

during the bunch windows over the balance
of the decade. A public relation~ type attempt
at a Venus ~winghy with flyby or impact on
Mercury. could he accomplished next year.
A significant scientific venture to obtain scientific data probably will not occur before the
1976 launch window.
55. The Soviets have shown some interest
in exploration of the outer planets. But a useful payload requires a more capable launch

Related Interests

Chicle, such asC
-,or the SL-12 with
high energy upper stages~he[ Jtas not
been flown successfully and an upgraded
SL-12 has yet to be launched. Attempts at
a Jupiter or Jupiter/Saturn flyby using one
or more high energy stages on the SL-12
could start about 1975, assuming early and
successful testing of such stages. The Soviets
might be ready to attempt a series of Jupiter
missions in the early 1980s using [

J

V. FUTURE PRIORITIES
56. We expect the Soviets to continue their
prestige-related programs at about their present rate. These programs will continue to be
constrained by Soviet technical and managerial limitations, but the Soviets will continue to try to work around these problem
areas, borrow from the West, and-if necessary-try to leapfrog them. We also expect
the Soviets will continue to develop new applications and programs to support militarystrategic objectives. We do not expect Soviet
limitations to be as serious in this area because
they use technology closer to the state of the
art. Further, we believe that the Soviets will
introduce satellites that will be much more
useful in the economic area, so that by the
late 1970s and early 1980s, this element of
the program will become much larger than
it is today. The prospect is thus for a continued high effort in the military programs,
with improved performance; a continuation
of present efforts in the prestige space pro-

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been and will be much more subject to technical and mnnagcrial constraints.

~rams (ahhou~h

prohahly with greater sucecss); and some shirting of resources to programs 'with more eeonomit: return.
57. As program ohjcclivcs grow, there will
he an' incrcnst:d need for advanct·d technolog>'~ such as high energy propulsion and
nuch:ar power sources, for nearly all mission
areas. Generally, this advanced technology
will ht! used first in si1pport of military.stratcgit: applieations. Significant i"CS\llts of this
tcehnology will indudc extension of spacecraft life aml development of more multisensor-and multi-function-satellites. The
improved performance inherent in these
changes may lead to a red\lction in the
annual number of Soviet space launches.
58. There is little doubt that there has been
and will continue to be economic pressure
to reduce the resources put into some aspects
of Soviet space programs. \Ve have evidence
that there is some disillusionment with the
Soviet manned space program. And complaints have been heard that space spectaculars deprived the military of much-needed resources. The new Five Year Plan in 1970
called for greater emphasis on space applications-communications, navigation, and earth
resources programs- which used proven hardware and had a demonstrable economic return. But perhaps even more importantly, the
new plan relied heavily on the application
throughout the Soviet economy of technological improvements in productivity to keep
the economy growing. And this required a
much greater input to the economy of the
sophisticated equipment and human talent
that h~retofore were being devoured by the
space tlrogram. A natural consequence of
these developments was that funds for some
programs were not as easily available as in
the past and some programs were stretched
out. \.Ve believe, however, that economic constraints· have not seriously affected the scope
and til11ing of the space programs; these have

59. Based on currently observable programs
and the assumption that there nre programs
in the early stages of development that arc
unknown to us, we believe that spending for
Soviet space programs will continue through
1975 at-or slightly below-the 1971-1973
level. Thereafter the Soviets can support an
active and vigorous space effort, and introduce several new programs each year, without exceeding the current levds of expenditmes. Only if the Soviets contemplate very
expensive new programs-such as a manned
Mars landing-would economic considerations
be likely to play a decisive role. But such programs arc unlikely in 1970s, primarily for
technical reasons.
60. On the other hand, Soviet space programs almost certainly will not suffer signifi- ·
cant long-term cuts in funding. The Soviets
have a deep, wide-ranging commitment to the
exploration and use of space. Soviet leadersfrom Secretary Brezhnev to Academy of
Sciences President Keldysh-have repeatedly
stressed the importance of space from both
an economic and a scientific standpoint. The
long-term nature of the commitment is evident from the broad nature of the applications ·programs-both economic and military-and from the high priority accorded
space research facilities. And space activities
are consistently among those major accomplishments which the Soviets like .to recite
on state occasions as demonstrative of socialist
success. In sum, the Soviets have ideological,
national, and strategic commitments to space
activity that transcend the economic and
scientific rationales they often cite. Conse·
quently, it is likely that the total effortmilitary and civilian-will continue at about
the current levels.

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61. The space industry has lost some of its
favored position vis-a-vis other claimants in
the economy who are now in closer competition for budget allocations. The growth in
the space programs that each year took a
large share of the technical resources of the

USSR will not take as large a shnre in the
future. Some of the incremental resources
previously devoted to the space programs
each year, during their period of rapid growth,
can increasingly be used elsewhere in the
economy.

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ECLASSIFIED Author

Related Interests

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THE ESTIMATE
I. GENERAL RATIONALE AND
EMPHASIS OF SOVIET SPACE
PROGRAMS
l. In the early years, Soviet space programs
used hardware already available and relied
entirely on boosters developed as ballistic missiles. Missions were predominantly thosesuch as . the manned, lunar, and planetary
flights-that could be and were publicized.
There were also scientific programs for exploration of space near the earth. (Figure 1,
opposite, portrays the growth of the major
Soviet space programs as represented by
their flight history. Current Soviet space
launch (SL) vehicles are shown in Figure 2
on page 10) . This approach provided a series
of space flights that simultaneously made
headlines·, had a high probability of success,
and held costs down. The clear intent, for
the most part, was to enhance an image of
Soviet stientific, technical, and military
prowess, ·~nd the earlier missions were a key
element in the growth of Soviet prestige.
2. In the mid-l960s, the Soviets broadened
their earlier approach by launching, for practical military and economic uses, satellites that
were much more widely based in technology
and objectives. Some of these programs, such
as those for communications and weather reporting, were not amenable to extensive publicity. Some could not be publicized at allsuch as those for photographic and ELINT
reconnaissance, radar calibration, intercepting satellites, and providing navigational sup-

port. These satellites continued to use military boosters that had been well-proven; well
over 90 percent of the missions have been successful in the past six years. Since the mid1960s the majority of Soviet space launches
have been for satellites with military- and intelligence-related missions, with the result
that today some three-fourths of Soviet activity in spa·.:c (as measured by number of
launches) supports the USSR's strategic military objectives. These programs are currently
being supplemented by newer programs now
in the development cycle-such as a radar
reconnaissance satellite and what may be a
high altitude surveillance spacecraft.
3. In order to move beyond their earlier
publicized successes in space, the Soviets had
in the late 1960s to develop larger and more
complicated space boosters and spacecraft.
This new hardware had serious performance
problems, and Soviet prestige programs consequently did not move forward as expected.
Only some 75 percent of the prestige missions
have achieved their objectives in the past six
years. The US was at the same time succeeding in its advanced programs-especially
Apollo-with the result that the USSR lost
its early image of predominance in space.
4. In addition to its strategic military and
prestige aspects, the Soviet space effort has
had economic objectives, but so far these appear to have a much lower priority. The programs that provide economic benefits do so
for both military and civilian users.

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5. Soviet expenditures for space programs
reflect, these priorities and years of growth.
Total Soviet annual spending for space is estimated to have increased from the equivalent
of about $800 million in 1960 to the equivalent of about $8 billion in 197!.1 The growth
of the military-strategic share from about 15
percent of the total in 1960 to about 40 percent today reflects the growing importance
of strategic programs. 2 For the most part,
strategic-military systems have used existing
hardware and technology in standardized pay1
The 'estimated Soviet space co~ts given here indude the costs of hardware, launch operations, construction of facilities, tracking and data acquisition,
:l()rninistration, and research and development for
both miiitary and civilian programs. These costs represent the cost of producing similar systems in the
US. Ce~eralized cost models were used, which attribute US developmental practices and technique~
to the Soviet systems. Thus there are major uncertainties in the absolute costs of the overall Soviet space
program; and these values should be used with caution. We have far more confidence in the overall
trends.
Revised estimates of the pace and timing of Soviet
space programs, necessitated by the stretchout of
some major elements of the Soviet effort, have resulted in a somewhat lower estimate of annual outlays than in the past. The stretchout has been
only partially balanced by Soviet development 'lf
some programs (geodetic, radar reconnaissance, and
photographic-related) not previously estimated and
by higher launch rates (two Salyut-class satellites
and four Mars probes in 1973). The estimates appear
higher, however, because they are now expressed in
1972 dollars, representing an inflation of some 20
percent over 1968 dollars used previously.
·
' There is much overlapping and sharing of hardware, facilities, and outputs between military and
civilian components of the Soviet space programs.
All applications programs-for civilian or military
users-use military boosters, b:ues, and personnel.
The allocation of resources to military or civilian
programs in this Estimate is based on whether a
similar program in the US would be funded under
the Department of Defense or NASA, except in the
case of Molniya and Meteor satellites, whose costs
have beeri divided 7fJ military, Y.a civilian. The allocation does not attempt to estimate just how much
is actually funded by the Soviet Ministry of Defense.

6

loads and boosters and thus cost less per
launch than the publicized systems. Many of
the publicized systems-such as Salyut and
Lunokhod-ha vc used hardware nnd technology which required heavy investment in
research and development.:!
6. Annual Soviet space launches have
leveled off at close to 1971 levels of some
90 launches a year, and estimated annual expenditures have remained close to the equivalent of about $8 bil~ion. By fnr the largest
annual outlays since 1971-about $3 billionhave been for man-related programs (civil and
military) and the associated boosters. Salyutclass space stations have absorbed the greatest
portion of this total. The next largest outlays
were for existing photographic and ELINT
reconnaissance programs, which absorb about
one-third as much, followed in order by
planetary, lunar, and earth applications programs.

II. PROGRAMS IN SUPPORT OF
STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

7. The major Soviet space effort devoted to
military and strategic objectives, involving
some 40 launches a year, is the collection
of intelligence data from other nations and
areas of the world through the use of reconnaissance satellites. A second. very important area is the continuing development
and maintenance of reliable communications
satellites. Additional major strategic roles are
navigation support for Soviet ships and the
collection of worldwide weather data.
Recon no issance
8. The Soviets have several types of satellites for the collection of photographic and
• Several recent prestige efforts have been quite
expensive, compared to strat\. s :
· lrt act.ivities.
The Salyut, Mars probes, an ;
are estimated
to have cost on the order of
ti
as much per
launch as a photoreconnaissance satellite.

SECRET

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

electronic data, and they are working on a
new radar satellite system. The plrotograplric
reconnaissance systems :~rc used to keep track
of foreign military forces and installations, as
well as for close monitoring of crisis situations
such as the Pakistan/Indian conflict in 1971
and the latest Mideast war, during which the
Soviets launched 6 photorcconnaissancc satellites in 17 days. Since the satellites have relatively short life times, about 30 are launched
each· year. Such frequent launches provide
flexibility, because the mission targeting can
be optimized for specific targets, and a satellite can be recovered after a short period without giving up coverage. But the relatively
small amount of film carried in each mission
limits coverage and the rapidity with which
previously unknown developments can be
idcnti.fied. Moreover, the resolution of the
sensors-even on the high-resolution systemmay limit the usefulness of the imagery for
detail~d technical intelligence. Soviet photographic reconnaissance satellites are expected
to improve in resolution, and perhaps in film
recovery flexibility, in order to meet requirements to cover Communist China, crisis situations, and-above all-US weapons developments and compliance in strategic arms agreements.
'

9. Soviet ELTNT satellites are more clearly
understood than in previous years. Second
genera.tion ELINT satellites now monitor predominantly ocean and coastal areas. Third generatioll; ELINT satellites-still in developmental testing-are now used mostly over land
areas, but are expected to be used mostly
over otean areas in the future. These satellites appear to be able to contribute directly
to detecting and, in the case of the most
modern system, locating foreign naval ships.
Moreover, they monitor various early warning
radars. Major anticipated advances include expanded coverage and refinement of the technical d~ta that they collect on radar targets

so as to improve identification and technical
analysis.
10. The Soviets in the past few years have
been testing :t radar reconnaissance satellite.
The spacecraft uses a side-looking radar that
can detect large surface ships, such as aircraft carriers. This system has a potential
for providing targeti ng data to combatants
at sea. The -combination of data from such a
system with data from other sources, such as
ELINT satellite data, would be highly useful
in targeting antiship missiles. The flight tests
of the radar satellite to date more than likely
represent de velopmental work, as opposed
qualification of an operational system.

C

Wut the Soviets probably will attempt
to ~lop a version of this satellite that could
be used operationally to obtain information
on small ocean areas, and may be able to do
so by the 1975-1977 period. If the Soviets
choose to develop a more capable radar reconnaissance satellite or a radar surveillance
satellite for broad continuing ocean coverage,
it probably could not appear until later.
Surveillance 4

11. The characteristics of a satellite
launched in late 1972 and of another launched
early in November, 1973, suggest the Sovietl;
may now be working on a high altitude, surveillance-type satellite. The most logical
choice of mission-based on our perception
of Soviet needs and the probability that the
Soviets have conducted missile launch detection experiments-would be a system for
' A surveillance satellite provides broad, w ide-rangeing, and continuous or frequent• coverage of a portion
of the earth. A reconnaissance satellite, on the other
hand, provides limited coverage of a small area of
the earth, and may not do so frequently.

SECRET

7

I

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

-6ECRET

detection of missile launches. However, until
we better undcr.~tand this program, we a n.•
not able to gauge its true mission, its significa nce, or its time schedule. In any case, we
believe that the Soviets will develop and introduce early warning satellites. Other areas
of possible Soviet advances include ocean surveillance (with greater coverage and longer
mission times than the radar reconna issa nce
system now under development) , detection of
nuclear detonations, and SIGINT surveillance.
The latter two types of satellites would work
best in high altitude orbits.

commtmications until the}' arc ··dumped"' to
a specific consunH:r.
Weapons Support
15. Other types of Soviet ~atcllitcs s11pport
deployed weapons systems.

-[
J
J

Communications
12. The Soviets have in the past few years
greatly expanded, in space and on the ground,
their u's e of satellite systems for the relay of
communications. The usc of the Molniya 1
high altitude system has expanded with the
dev~mcnt of a Moscow-Washington hot
lineL

13. Each Molniya 1 satellite has a limited
relay capability, and a large deployment
of satellites is required to fulfill the above
functions in addition to growing civil communications requirements. We believe that
Molniyci 2 satellites, now in the early op·
erational stag~, will eventually take over the
bulk of ~oviet Civil and military satellite communications and provide orders of magnitude
increases in satellite relay capacity within the
USSR. Tactical applications might appear by
the 197S-1977 period. When the geostationary
satellite Statsionar becomes operational, perhaps by, about 1975, it will furnish another
major level of communications support.
14. The Soviets now have also deployed extensively, small satellites that probably store

a

=5ECRET

-The Soviets have relied. at least in part,
on the mapping capabilities of their satellite reconnaissance cameras for geodetic
data for targeting missiles. Over the last
few years, the Soviets have deployed
optical sites at various locations in the
USSR, and at research sites in Antarctica.
One purpose of these sites is accurate
tracking of a series of satellites specifically developed for geodetic purposes.
-Special satellites are also used as targets,
probably for the calibration[

J

-Weather satellites-named in the Meteor
series~llect

meteorological information, presumably from all over the world.
The information was probably fi rst received by military installations, but the
Soviet Hydrometeorological Service now
receives weather data for civil use.

}

J

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

""SECRET

Weapons
16. The USSn has developed a satellite interceptor and a fractional orbital bombardment system (the SS-9 Mod-3) .

J
J

17. The number of launches per year in
support of strategic goals has leveled off in
the 1970s, after a rapid growth in the 1960s.
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hile these systems will continue to e•1joy
the same priorities as the military weapons
systems, the general level of launch activity
is not expected to pick up in the 1970s. In
fact, the prospects are that, as satellites grow
in capability (more time in orbit and more
film time per reconnaissance mission, for example) , the number of military space launches
may decline while the number of active satellites in orbit will grow. New military applications and systems will continue to be
developed, however, in the areas of reconnaissance, surveillance, communications, and
weapons support. These are likely to include
tactical applications. The total effort in terms
of resources expended is likely to remain
about the same.

Ill. ECONOMIC APPliCATIONS

)

J

18. Although Soviet activities in space have
had relatively little influence on the Soviet
economy, the potential economic benefits
have grown. It is probable that current economic applications will continue and that new
ones will be introduced. The future extent
and value of these applications of space technology, however, are not clear. The Soviets
are likely to utilize satellites even more extensively as a means for improving communications, predicting weather, and studying
earth resources. The Soviets may try to utilize
economic applications--especially earth resources studies-in their relations with less
developed nations.
I

19. The potentially most rewarding area is
the use of satellites to conduct studies of the

SECRET

earth's surface and its natural resources. This
has already been done to a certain extent in
the manned program, and may have been
done as well-to a very limited degree-with
a special series of photographic-related satellites. Such studies have application for, among
other objectives, locating new mineral deposits, understanding earthquake phenomena,
and identifying fishing areas and the effects
of pollution. They also can be used to survey
forests, arable land, crops, water resources,
and to upgrade estimates of national resources. The Soviets probably have also used
photoreconnaissance satellites to provide information of the breakup of ice in tlte northern
sea routes.
20. Satellites used in support of strategic
goals also play an importa~t econo~ic role.
-Weather observations based on satellite
data are more comprehensive and timely,
_.and cover greater geographical areas,
than ground facilities. Satellite data
are especially useful to agriculture and
shipping as well as in warning of severe
stonns. The Soviets clearly are following
the West's lead in this area and wiU continue to use weather information from
non-Soviet sources as well as their own.
-

Communications satellites provide a
much less expensive means of relaying
long distance communications in all
fo.nns, and are particularly attractive
within the USSR, where the distances
between settled areas--especiaJly east
of the Urals-are great. About 80 percent of the country is north of the USCanadian border, and in many areas
severe winter weather precludes the use
of most ground-based relay systems. The
Soviets have been usin~ relay satellites
for yearsC
We expect the volume
of data to increase in the next 10 years,

J

9

-,

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

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Figure 2

Current Family of Soviet Space Launch Vehicles·

lonar

Pl•netarr
4,000·10.000 lb

.A.
II

II

Muned
Photoreconnaisun"
14,000 lb

Sciealiflc

COIIUliDnfcrtlau

Cor~muniutioas

PIJadrry
Z,OOII-4.000"111

[lial Rrcanuiuuce
lluivaliaa
ASU

A

Geodetic

calibutto.
Scienlif~t

•~ooitb

AOOib

' laoncb Vehicles flo loager Used Are: Sl-1. Sl·2. SL-5. Sl·l. a1111 Sl-10

ll'ote: Miuiou ud wriGhts cltd are tJpiCII.

10

Rrdar

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5.000· 9.1100 Ill

~

Spree Slrlioa
42,000 lb

A

• I

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036
SECRET

especially as technical cooperation with
other nations grows.
21. There has been scant evidence of spinoff of Soviet space technology into the civilian
economy. There is growing emphasis on the
usc of space-as well as space technology-in
the . economy, but the one example touted
so f~r (some medical applications) is not significant. T~1e Soviets clearly arc trying, however. We expect to see some examples of the
utilization of space technology in the civilian
economy over the next 10 years, but the
secrecy surrounding the space program will
limit this process more than in the West.
IV. PRESTIGE PROGRAMS

22. Although the strategic, economic, and
scientific applications programs contribute to
the i'm age of the USSR as a modern and technologically advanced nation, this reputation
rests largely on the highly publicized successes in their early manned space, lunar,
and ·planetary programs. Soviet accomplishments in these areas, however, relative to
the t)S, have been steadily less impressive
since the mid-1960s. At the same time the
US successes in space-especially the Apollo
and Skylab programs-have enhanced the
US image, a very poor Soviet record has contributed to the decline of theirs. Soviet leadership in space is no longer the accepted public
judgment, as it once was, even in the USSR.
23. The USSR thus is in a difficult position.
Given the earlier successes, it cannot afford
to alJow the US to appear to become predominant in all areas of space endeavor, yet
it cannot now compete with the US because
'
of severe
technical and managerial limitations.
24. The Soviets have attempted to maintain
an aura of success about their space program
by exaggerating the success of their ventures
a nd by playing down or ignoring their failures.
Even internally, they have shown a tendency

to try to leapfrog failures in order to push
on. Only in the most obvious of c:~ses, such
as the cosmonauts• deaths in Soyuz 11, have
they admitted difficulties. In order to enhance
this image of success: the Soviets use the
Cosmos name to cover most aspects of their
space programs. Where the mission is not
obvious, the spacecraft is given a number,
nnd the announcement provides little or no
inforrnatio'l as to its mi~sion. This system of
nomenclature has been used to cover not
only military-related launchings, but also failures as well. It has created an image of an
active, successful program, when in fact there
are many problems. Even in progrnms which
are open, and where it would seem desirable,
or at least harmless, for the Soviets to release
technical information, they have been historically reluctant to do so. This reluctance stems
partly from the Soviet practice of security
and compartmentation, and partly from a desire to hide their limitations.

Problems to be Overcome
25. The problems plaguing Soviet manned
space, lunar, and planetary programs during
the past few years have appeared largely in
just those programs which were trying to refurbish the Soviet image and to advance the
frontiers by using new space launch vehicles
and spacecraft. (See Figure 2, opposite. ) The
problems crop up throughout the cycle of program development-in planning, design, materials production, test, and evaluation-and
in general program management.
26. That these problem areas are so pervasive is, in general, a result of the fact that Soviet technology lags the West, in most of
the areas related to space activities, by some
five years. In particular, the problems stem
from the manner in which Soviet space
programs evolved. Early Soviet successes,
using large cryogenic boosters, which were
built to carry unminiaturized nuclear weapons,

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11

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

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did not for.ce the early development of improved boosters with high energy upper stages
and of the lightweight, small size technology
that the US developed. These advances in
propulsion, electronics, and materials, which
characterize US programs, now furnish the
basis for the US lead in prestige programs.
27. Limitations at each stage in the development cycle, and in many technologies,
compound the problems of the Soviet prestig<>
spac;.:! programs, but design limitations are
certainly fundamental. These are best exemplifi4d by problems in Soviet spacecraft.
From the beginning their spacecraft designs
have been oversimplified, and they have
failed to develop separate redundant systems
to provide alternatives for inflight emergencies. Soviet spacecraft arc crudely constructed, have limited 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.nentation, and,
for manned vehicles, reflect little concern for
crew comfort. Even after many years, the
Soviets still use .outmoded technology, and
their techniques and materials have become
inadequate for the complex tasks now being
attempted.
28. Bi.1t the designers have to use the technology and materials available. In this context, flight hardware must be differentiated
from laboratory equipment. Soviet scientists
and engineers have a high degree of competence in developing advanced technology
items in the laboratory, but production
items freq~ently lack the quality of original
single-piece hardware. Lack of quality control
in manufacturing crops up specifically in Soviet development of those technologies which
have en~bled the US to push ahead in high
energy propulsion and in miniaturized electronics. Shortcomings in the latter are felt
across a number of vital areas-not only in
hardware to control boosters and spacecraft,
but in particular in the sensors, instrumentation, communications, and data processing

12

that allow the causes of failures to be pinpointed.
29. The Soviets' relative lack of rdincd instnnncntation to determine the cause of failures-together with inadequate quality control-arc the prime reasons that complex new
flight test programs have had repeated failures
before successes are achieved. The SL-12/13
space booster, used for the Salyut l:mnchcs
and the Mars probes, went through a scric.~
of failures before it became reliable. It appears that ground testing has tended to b<.•
more of a go/ no-go affair with potential failures remaining undiscovered until actual
flight. This results in an "onion peeling" effect,
in which the solution of one problem only
reveals another. The Soviets arc now attempting to correct this situation with improved
telemetry systems and procurement of more
simulation equipment, but they are late in
doing so.
30. In addition to the problems of design,
fabrication, and test instrumentation, problems show up in the management and control
of the spaceflight itself. These are most apparent in manned missions-probably because
of their scope and complexity and their requirement for quick resolution of problems.
31. Limitations are also found far back up
the program management ladder from spaceflight operations. It is very difficult in the
USSR to introduce new types of production
cr radically new materials into existing facilities, but this had to be done if the Soviet space
industry were to expand beyond ·the few
original dedicated facilities with the top
choice of engineers and workers. Compounding the problem, supporting industries adequate to provide the special equipment, parts,
and advanced technical know-how are in relatively short supply in the USSR. Soviet problems can perhaps be laid, in part, to their
failure to take advantage, in the prestige space
programs, of some of the advanced manage-

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merit concepts and techniques used in the
West.
32. More fundamentally, they have failed
to make the Soviet space program work as
well as it should because they had to work
within the Soviet system. For example, Soviet
management is often done by committee.
Members are from various parts of the Soviet
pO\vcr structure, they appear to each other as
approximate equals, and there is no apparent
mechanism for the enforcement of solutions
once a problem is recognized and resolved.
33. The Soviets are certainly aware of the
d amage that failure to solve these problems
d oes to thei r national image. There is evidence
that extensive basic research supports the
space effort. Manned space, lunar, and planetary programs receive the best support from
the technical institutes, a·nd they have been
generously funded. The failures thus have not
come as a result of inattention or inadequate
effor~ . Rather they seem to have been a consequence of attempting early on to continue to
achic.ve success with minimum effort, and to
cover up, rather th.a n adequately to address
and solve, fundamental problems. These failures are failures, in the first place, of technology, but more fundamentally they are failures of management inherent in the Soviet
system .

Cooperation in Space Programs
34. The problems the Soviets have encountered in their manned space programs
have caused them to be increasingly more
open in their approach to space efforts that
do no_t have a strategic impact and to look
more favorably on cooperation with other
countries. With the example of the US before
them, the Soviets have released pictures,
models, and actual hardware at an increasing
rate. This trend has been a function of increasing nu,mbers of cooperative programs, of the
need felt by Soviet scientists to demonstrate

their competence, and of the growing sophistication of the average person regarding space
matters.
35. The first US-USSR agreement on cooperation in space was for exchange of weather
data and was arrived at in 1962, but the US
received little Soviet data until the bunch of
the Meteor 1 satellite in 1969. Actual exchange
of information has also lagged .in other areas
covered by agreements, such as in a long overdue joint review of space biology and medi- '
cine, and in erratic cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space. The thaw in EastWest relations over the past few years has,
however, reduced the political barriers to cooperation.
36. The US-USSR agreement on cooperation in space, signed at the Moscow Summit
in May 1972, to conduct a test docking mission
in earth orbit in July 1975, marked a new level
of potential cooperation. As the Apollo-Soyuz
Test Project {ASTP) is now conceived, a
US-designed docking mechanism will be installed on a docking module which will also
serve as an airlock and transfer corridor betwl!en the US and Soviet spacecraft. During
the docking period, which may last as long
as two days, the crews will visit each others'
spacecraft and perform a few experiments.
37. Such cooperative activities in space
must appear attractive to Moscow for a variety
of reasons:

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-As a part of the broader policy of detente,
the ASTP and other cooperative agreements are indications of easing EastWest tension.
-The ASTP project contributes to the public image of Soviet technological equality
with the US by suggesting that, despite
the absence of manned lunar expeditions,
the USSR is on a scientific and technical
par with the US in its space programs.

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DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

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-Space programs in ~cneral are a subject
of world-wide popnlar interest, and cooperative activities promote a favorable
i1rtagc of the USSH in general.
-The US is the source from which the Soviets can learn a great deal in terms of
scientific, technological, and managerial
kn'ow-how, so that they can attempt to
close the gap between the space programs of the two countries. The USSR
also lags behind other Western countries
in most of these areas.
38. Nevertheless, the Soviet decision to engage in the project probably was contested,
and appro\•ed only when it could be demonstrated "that it held more advantages for the
ussn. There were certainly strong arguments
in the Kremlin against such an undertaking,
as well as the usual extensive bureaucratic
problem's of resolving policy questions among
diverge1~t scientific, industrial, military, and
political interests. Cooperative activities must
appear imattractive for at least some of th!'
following reasons:
-The USSR remains sensitive about disclosing most of the details of its space
programs, which remain classified in the
USSR, largely because of the close linkages between the military and civilian
space efforts.
-They are a\vare of their technical shortcomings, reluctant to expose them, and
reluctant to risk public .failure in such
undertakings.

- I f the venture is a success, credit will
have to be shared with political enemies.
39. These bureaucratic problems have not
been disposed of; they have merely been
pushed into the background. Moreover, the
technical and managerial problems experienced by· the Soviets in their space programs
in general, and in the Salyut mission in par-

14

ticular, will not be solved easily. All these
problems will crop up to present practical obstaclc·s in achicvin~ agreement, and in meeting
schedules and goals. But we believe ASTP
stems from detente, and as long as detente
is attractive, the Soviets will find ways to keep
ASTP alive. The specific problems will have>
to be worked through. and the Sovid leadership will certainly sec to it that ASTP gets
the necessary priorities in tcnns of technical
and managerial talent.
40. Moreover, even though there still ar('
problems with the Soyuz spacecraft, Soyuz
technology is no longer at the forefront of
Soviet space research. It is the Salyut and
related programs which arc most in trouble
in the USSR, not Soyuz. The Soyuz program
is now over six years old, and Soyuz 12 retested
some of the old approaches. In addition, the
ASTP mission plan and hardware development
have been steadily changed to take technical
and managerial pressure off the Soviets. The
most important new hardware development in
ASTP is the docking module, and this is the
responsibility of the US. The Soviets thus
are taking minimum risk to achieve maximum
gain.
41. If Soviet-US cooperation goes beyond
ASTP to more advanced projects, the Soviets
will be pressed closer to the limits of their
technical and managerial talents. It is likely,
however, that the Soviets will learn from the
US as they go, keep .the projects within their
capabilities (or alter them as necessary), and
continue to benefit as much as possible from
US know-how and world publicity while giving a minimum in return. Until they can undertake major new projects successfully on their
own-and their technology to do this is now
at least five years behind that of the US--:the Soviets need a US cooperation program
to help bolster their technology and prestige,
and will continue to promote such cooperation.

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DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036
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12. In addition to its dealings with the US,
the ussn has in the past sought, and continue.<;
to seck, space cooperation with other noncommunists states:
-The extensive Franco-Soviet program, including placement of a French laser reflector on the moon, is one such effort.
Again, political as well as scientific considerations were important.
-The USSR has been similarly engaged
In cultivating scientific and political ties
with India. A forthcoming Soviet project
to launch an Indian scientific satellite in
i974 will serve to further that end.
-The Soviets also are beginning cooperative programs with the European Space
Research Organization ( ESRO ), West
Germany, and Sweden. These efforts are
still small but are likely to grow. It is
quite possible that cooperative efforts
with still more na tions will begin in the
future.
43. The USSR's cooperation in space has
also included ventures with the Warsaw Pact
nations, beginning in the late 1960s. These
started as technically trivial efforts at public
relations, but recently have grown and have
embraded other Socialist nations as well. The
overall effort now is to the point that specific
satellites--named in the Intercosmos seriesare launched in cooperative projects. Eleven
of these launches have occurred. This effort,
too, has political, as ·well as technical and public relations aspects, although there is less
potential Soviet gain in cooperation with Pact
nations "than with the West. Nonetheless, we
expect the effort to continue for the foreseeable futl.ue at about the current level.
44. The outlook for cooperation in general
is for a continuation of the trend that has seen
the Soviets become increasingly open with
respect to space activities, including the handling of their own space program and their

dealings with other nations. Cooperative
efforts with countries other than the US , as
well as with the US, will eontinue and expand to some degree in the future. We do not
believe, however, that the ussn will try to
undertake truly complex space pro~rarns with
countric.<> other than the US. The eost alone
of major space efforts limits the p:-~.-ticipants,
ancl the US is the only nation with :l major
space program of potential usc to the USSR.

' Programs
Prospects for Prestige
45. As has been noted above, the Soviets
arc hindered by the fact that the USSH has
not created the necessary technical and managerial base to keep up with the US in the
prestige programs. These limitations w·ill further delay schedules for manned space stations, manned lunar landings, and planetary
exploration.

Manned and Related Space Stations
46. The disastrous Salyut 1/Soyuz 11 mission, which ended in the death of three cosmonauts, and the three successive failures of other
Salyut type spacecraft have set the Salyut
program back at least two years. Investigations carried on Salyut 1 included earth resources surveys, astronomical studies, medical
and biological studies, atmospheric and meteorological investigations, and other scientific
experiments. These were designed to test the
feasibility of the station for a variety of uses.
Salyut 2 was different from Salyut 1, had[
·
I a larger area
of solar arrays. While the SO"ticts could develop and operate separate civil and military space stations, as might be suggested
by Salyut 1 and 2, it seems equally likely that
the competition for space re.<>ources might
eventually result in an amalgamation of
missions.
47. Although a successful ASTP will shore
up the Soviet space image to some extent, it

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I

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will not in fact demonstrate Soviet technical
parity with the US in manned space flight.
The Soyu7. is n remnant from the earlyto mid-1960s Soviet technology. While it is
being modified as well as possible, it is primitive compared to Apollo. And although the
Soviets touted Salyut as the doorway to
manned orbital spaceflight in the 1970s, it is
technically far behind th!! US Skylab, and.has
yet to fly a wholly successful mission. We expect to 'sec continuing Salyut missions, to resolve Soviet problems in manned space stations, over the next couple of years. We also
expect to sec more manned Soyuz space flights
with specific, limited objectives that can be
used to demonstrate an on-going Soviet capability before ASTP. Thereafter Salyut will
probably be the focus of Soviet manned space
flight until about 1977, and perhaps longer.
48. A persistent theme in Soviet public
statements and literature has been that intermediate ( Salyut) size orbital stations will be
used to build a larger station by linking
modules. in orbit. But before this can be done,
there are severe technical problems to be resolved which require additional developmental
advanceS and substantial overall improvements in systems reliability. With optimum
speed and success in resolving these problems,
a manned station of Salyut-like linked modules, maintaining successive 6-9 man crews
for several months at a time, could be in operation by 1980. Soviet performance to date does
not, however, engender confidence that these
problems will be resolved soon enough to meet
that date.

the US type migh t appear. The electronics,
materials, and system test problems arc beyond Soviet capabilities now. Any attempts
to build a reusable shuttle would be plagued
by problems. Between now and the 1980s, the
Soviets will continue to use ferry spacecraft
and existing launch vehicles. But the Soviets
also may introduce spacecraft and/or booster
components that arc reusable after a fashion,
caii the combination a "space shuttle~, and
claim another space first. A desire to reduce
the cost per launch and the Soviet commitment
to a manned space station program may make
development of a truly reusable shuttle attractive to the Soviets during the 1980s.

Unmanned Lunar Exploration
SO. The Soviet unmanned lunar programalmost completely preempted by tlie Apollo
program prior to its termination-is expected
to continue at its current low level for several
years. The success of the two lunar rovers,
Lunokhods 1 and 2, might prompt the Soviets to try more ambitious unmanned lunar
ventures. These flights-such as a dual mission of a rover and a sample return payloadmight occur in the mid-1970s using two SLl2s. Such lunar missions as the Soviets attempt
will allow more complex missions and advances in scientific exploration, as well as opportunities to demonstrate technical competence. The low level effort will grow as the
Soviets make progress toward their own
.manned lunar landing.

Manned Lunar Landing

'

Space Shuttle
49. Some Soviet space officials have expressed interest in a US-type reusable space
shuttle and have indicated a desire for such a
program. But the USSR is many years from
achieving such a shuttle--so far in fact that
we cannot predict when a reusable shuttle of

16

SL It still appears that the Soviets will make
an effort to land men on the moon and return
them. But the failures, long slippage, and apparent low priority connected with the program make it unlikely that a specific schedule
exists. The timing of a manned lunar mission
) If the
hinges on the success of [
(
Jtaunches ov~r the next few years are

SEC REf

DECLASSIFIED Authority NND 984036

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succcssf ul, and the Soviets attach a high
priority to the program, a manned lunar mission could still take place by the end of the
1970~. But any major failures of [
will almost certainly push the mission into the
1980s. The present priorities appear to emphasize the development of manned space
stations.

J

.P lanetary Exploration
52. The impact of the planetary and lunar
efforts in the early space program were
enormous. They intensified the feelings that
the Soviets were the dominant space power
in the late 1950s and early 1960s. As the US
program developed, however, Soviet deep
space feats had relatively less impact on the
world, After a long series of failures and
partial failures, the Soviets, during 1972, finally
achieved a landing on Venus with a spacecraft
which transmitted multiple measurements that
could be read and interpreted.
53. New spacecraft were launched toward
Mars in July and August 1973 by the SL-12
launch vehicle. The higher energy requirements of the 1973 Mars window compounded
the wdight problems, and the Soviets decided
to split the missions and use separate landers
and orbiters; thus four vehicles were sent on
their way to Mars, rather than two as in 1971.
The 1975 launch window to Mars involves still
greater launch energy requirements and approach velocities than those in 1973. Because
of this, the Soviets may forego the 1975 window, but will probably use the 19Tl window,
which will have less stringent energy requirements than the 1975 window.
54. The SL-6 and Venus spacecraft can be
used throughout the 1970s to support a variety
of Venus missions. It is more likely, however,
that the Soviets will use the SL-12. The Soviets
have discussed Venus upper atmosphere
probes using balloons. These might be within
the present Soviet capability and might occur

during the bunch windows over the balance
of the decade. A public relation~ type attempt
at a Venus ~winghy with flyby or impact on
Mercury. could he accomplished next year.
A significant scientific venture to obtain scientific data probably will not occur before the
1976 launch window.
55. The Soviets have shown some interest
in exploration of the outer planets. But a useful payload requires a more capable launch
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Chicle, such asC
-,or the SL-12 with
high energy upper stages~he[ Jtas not
been flown successfully and an upgraded
SL-12 has yet to be launched. Attempts at
a Jupiter or Jupiter/Saturn flyby using one
or more high energy stages on the SL-12
could start about 1975, assuming early and
successful testing of such stages. The Soviets
might be ready to attempt a series of Jupiter
missions in the early 1980s using [

J

V. FUTURE PRIORITIES
56. We expect the Soviets to continue their
prestige-related programs at about their present rate. These programs will continue to be
constrained by Soviet technical and managerial limitations, but the Soviets will continue to try to work around these problem
areas, borrow from the West, and-if necessary-try to leapfrog them. We also expect
the Soviets will continue to develop new applications and programs to support militarystrategic objectives. We do not expect Soviet
limitations to be as serious in this area because
they use technology closer to the state of the
art. Further, we believe that the Soviets will
introduce satellites that will be much more
useful in the economic area, so that by the
late 1970s and early 1980s, this element of
the program will become much larger than
it is today. The prospect is thus for a continued high effort in the military programs,
with improved performance; a continuation
of present efforts in the prestige space pro-

SECRE'F

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been and will be much more subject to technical and mnnagcrial constraints.

~rams (ahhou~h

prohahly with greater sucecss); and some shirting of resources to programs 'with more eeonomit: return.
57. As program ohjcclivcs grow, there will
he an' incrcnst:d need for advanct·d technolog>'~ such as high energy propulsion and
nuch:ar power sources, for nearly all mission
areas. Generally, this advanced technology
will ht! used first in si1pport of military.stratcgit: applieations. Significant i"CS\llts of this
tcehnology will indudc extension of spacecraft life aml development of more multisensor-and multi-function-satellites. The
improved performance inherent in these
changes may lead to a red\lction in the
annual number of Soviet space launches.
58. There is little doubt that there has been
and will continue to be economic pressure
to reduce the resources put into some aspects
of Soviet space programs. \Ve have evidence
that there is some disillusionment with the
Soviet manned space program. And complaints have been heard that space spectaculars deprived the military of much-needed resources. The new Five Year Plan in 1970
called for greater emphasis on space applications-communications, navigation, and earth
resources programs- which used proven hardware and had a demonstrable economic return. But perhaps even more importantly, the
new plan relied heavily on the application
throughout the Soviet economy of technological improvements in productivity to keep
the economy growing. And this required a
much greater input to the economy of the
sophisticated equipment and human talent
that h~retofore were being devoured by the
space tlrogram. A natural consequence of
these developments was that funds for some
programs were not as easily available as in
the past and some programs were stretched
out. \.Ve believe, however, that economic constraints· have not seriously affected the scope
and til11ing of the space programs; these have

59. Based on currently observable programs
and the assumption that there nre programs
in the early stages of development that arc
unknown to us, we believe that spending for
Soviet space programs will continue through
1975 at-or slightly below-the 1971-1973
level. Thereafter the Soviets can support an
active and vigorous space effort, and introduce several new programs each year, without exceeding the current levds of expenditmes. Only if the Soviets contemplate very
expensive new programs-such as a manned
Mars landing-would economic considerations
be likely to play a decisive role. But such programs arc unlikely in 1970s, primarily for
technical reasons.
60. On the other hand, Soviet space programs almost certainly will not suffer signifi- ·
cant long-term cuts in funding. The Soviets
have a deep, wide-ranging commitment to the
exploration and use of space. Soviet leadersfrom Secretary Brezhnev to Academy of
Sciences President Keldysh-have repeatedly
stressed the importance of space from both
an economic and a scientific standpoint. The
long-term nature of the commitment is evident from the broad nature of the applications ·programs-both economic and military-and from the high priority accorded
space research facilities. And space activities
are consistently among those major accomplishments which the Soviets like .to recite
on state occasions as demonstrative of socialist
success. In sum, the Soviets have ideological,
national, and strategic commitments to space
activity that transcend the economic and
scientific rationales they often cite. Conse·
quently, it is likely that the total effortmilitary and civilian-will continue at about
the current levels.

I

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61. The space industry has lost some of its
favored position vis-a-vis other claimants in
the economy who are now in closer competition for budget allocations. The growth in
the space programs that each year took a
large share of the technical resources of the

USSR will not take as large a shnre in the
future. Some of the incremental resources
previously devoted to the space programs
each year, during their period of rapid growth,
can increasingly be used elsewhere in the
economy.

SECRET

19

I

ECLASSIFIED Author

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