Russian Space Forces


Russian Space Forces
Космические войска России
Kosmicheskie Voyska Rossii
Great emblem of the Russian Space Forces.svg
Greater emblem of the Russian Space Forces
Active1992–1997, 2001–2011
August 1, 2015 – present
Country Russia
TypeSpace force
RoleSpace warfare
Size150,000 personnel (2014)[1]
Part of Russian Aerospace Forces
March14 минут до старта ("14 Minutes Until Launch", official march)
AnniversariesOctober 4 (Space Forces Day)
Commander of the Aerospace Forces Sergei Surovikin
Commander of the Space Forces Aleksandr Golovko
Medium emblemMiddle emblem of the Russian Space Troops.svg
Small emblemThe Russian Federation Space Troops collar insignia.svg
Russian military space troops flag.svg

The Russian Space Forces (Russian: Космические войска России, tr. Kosmicheskie Voyska Rossii, KV) are a branch of the Russian Aerospace Forces, that provides aerospace warning, air and space sovereignty, and other related protection for Russia. Having been reestablished following August 1, 2015 merger between the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces after the independent arm of service was dissolved in 2011. The Russian Space Forces were originally formed on August 10, 1992, and the creation of the Russian Armed Forces.[2] The organization shared control of the Baikonur Cosmodrome with the Russian Federal Space Agency. It also operated the Plesetsk and the Svobodny Cosmodromes. However the Russian Space Forces were dissolved in July 1997 and incorporated into the Strategic Missile Forces.[3]

The Russian Space Forces were once again reformed as an independent troop on June 1, 2001, under a military reorganization. However, by December 2011, it was dissolved once again and this time replaced by the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces.[4]

On August 1, 2015, the Russian Air Force and the Russian Aerospace Defence Forces were merged to form the Russian Aerospace Forces.[5][6] The Russian Space Forces were reestablished as a result, and are now one of three sub-branches of the new military branch.[7]


In 1967 the Troops of Anti-Missile and Anti-Space Defence was formed (Russian: войска противоракетной и противокосмической обороны [ПРО и ПКО], tr. Voyska Protivoraketnoy i Protivokosmicheskoy Oborony [PRO i PKO]) under Lieutenant General of the Artillery Yuri Votintsev.[8] They were reorganised as the Ministry of Defence Space Units in 1982. In 1991 the Soviet Union was broken up. The Armed Forces of the Russian Federation were established on May 7, 1992, enabling the creation of the Russian Space Force later that year on August 10.

In July 1997 the Space Force was dissolved as a separate service arm and incorporated to the Strategic Missile Forces along with the Space Missile Defence Forces, which previously were part of the Soviet Air Defence Forces. In the view of some experts, this was a mistake that prevented the Russian military from developing space-based capabilities. Russian Public TV said of the merger:[3]

However, slightly over three years ago, it appeared to some-one, that, with a view to saving funds, it would be more sensible to strip the Military Space Forces of their independence and subordinate them to the Strategic Missile Troops -which has been done. In just the same way the country's air defense forces were made subordinate to the air force. Under the slogan of "optimizing", but, essentially, reducing the officer corps of the armed forces, the Military Space Forces were simply merged with the Strategic Missile Troops. In this way, the missile men command remained in their places virtually in full and almost the entire elite of military engineers were dispersed from the space forces. The military base, too, was destroyed. In the building of the Military Space Forces headquarters on Kaluga Square [Kaluzhskaya ploshchad], the very expensive fiber optic cable necessary for communicating with space facilities was ripped out. Afterward, this decision was deemed to have been erroneous.

The Russian Space Forces were officially reborn on June 1, 2001, as an independent section of the Russian military. They regained independence under one of the many military reorganization plans of the mid-late 1990s. Colonel General Anatoly Perminov was appointed to lead the new Space Forces.[9] He was succeeded by General Vladimir Popovkin in 2004 and General Oleg Ostapenko in 2008 until dissolution in 2011.[10]

On August 1, 2015, the Space Forces were re-established as part of the Russian Aerospace Forces.


The main tasks of the Russian Space Forces are informing the higher political leaders and military commanders of missile attacks as soon as possible, ballistic missile defence, and the creation, deployment, maintenance and control of in-orbit space vehicles, like the new Persona reconnaissance satellite. For example, the Space Forces operate the GLONASS global positioning system; commander of the Space Forces Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin said in January 2006 that 18 GLONASS satellites would be in orbit by 2008. In October 2010 the system became fully operational.

Formations of the Space Forces included the 3rd Missile-Space Defence Army, and a Division of Warning of Missile Attack, both with their headquarters at Solnechnogorsk near Moscow. Installations and assets include the Hantsavichy Radar Station in Belarus, along with a number of other large warning radars, and the A-135 anti-ballistic missile system which protects Moscow and the Peresvet anti-air laser combat system which protects strategic missiles.[11][12]

There is also an optical tracking facility, the Okno (Window) complex near the town of Nurek in central Tajikistan that is intended to monitor objects in space. The Okno is capable of tracking objects 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) from Earth, the space forces said when it °was put on duty in 2002. The facility involves telescope-like equipment housed in several large spheres, similar to the U.S. GEODSS system.[13]

Lesser emblem of the Russian Space Forces

3rd Missile-Space Defence Army, status in 2002

1st Division of Warning of Missile Attack – HQ: Solnechnogorsk[14][15]
East Oko Headquarters – Komsomolsk-na-Amure (Pivan-1)
West Oko Headquarters – Kurilovo (Serpukhov-15)
Radar Site (ORTU) RO-1 Olenegorsk – Radar Dnepr (Hen House)
Radar Site RO-5 – Beregovo, Ukraine – Radar Dnepr (Hen House, under Ukrainian control, all Ukrainian personnel)[16]
Radar Site RO-4 – Sevastopol area, Russia – Radar Dnepr (Hen House, under Russian control, all Russian personnel)
Radar Site OS-2 – Balkhash, Kazakhstan – Radar Dnepr (Hen House)
Radar Site OS-1 – Mishelevka, Irkutsk – Radar Dnepr (Hen House)
Radar Site RO-30 – Pechora – Radar Daryal (Pechora)
Radar Site RO-7Gabala, Azerbaijan – Radar Daryal (Pechora)
Radar Site Gantcevichi, Belarus – Radar Volga
Radar Site – Komsomolsk-na-Amure – Radar Duga-2 (Steel Yard)
Radar Site Sofrino, in common with PRO – Radar Don-2 (Pill Box)
9th Division of Defence Against Missiles – HQ: Sofrino [17] (A-135 anti-ballistic missile system)
Missile Site – Novopetrovska – 51Т6
Missile Site – Klin – 51Т6
Missile Site – Shodna – 53Т6
Missile Site – Turakovo (Aleksandrov) – 51Т6
Missile Site – Korolev – 53Т6
Missile Site – Litkarino – 53Т6
Missile Site – Vnukovo – 53Т6
Missile Site – Kolodkino – 51Т6
Radar Site – Sofrino – Radar Don-2N (Pill Box)
Radar Site – Stremilovo (Chekhov-7) – Radar Dunay-3U (Cat House)
Radar Site – Kubinka – Radar Dunay-M (Dog House)
45th Division of Space Control – HQ: Noginsk area
Optical Electronic Complex Okno (Window) – Object 7680 – Nurek, Tajikistan
Laser Radar Krona ОРТУ – Zelenchukskaya, Cherkessk Area
Also are used Radar Site Sofrino, Balkhash, Mishelevka


  • 15th Aerospace Forces Army


No. Picture Commander Took office Left office Time in office Ref
Kerim Kerimov
Kerimov, KerimLieutenant General
Kerim Kerimov
196419650–1 years
Andrei Karas [ru]
Karas, AndreiColonel General
Andrei Karas [ru]
1965197913–14 years
Aleksandr Maksimov [ru]
Maksimov, AleksandrColonel General
Aleksandr Maksimov [ru]
197919899–10 years
Vladimir Ivanov [ru]
Ivanov, VladimirColonel General
Vladimir Ivanov [ru]
(born 1936)
198919966–7 years
Anatoly Perminov
Perminov, AnatolyColonel General
Anatoly Perminov
(born 1945)
28 March 200110 March 20042 years
Vladimir Popovkin
Popovkin, VladimirColonel General
Vladimir Popovkin
10 March 200430 June 20084 years
Oleg Ostapenko
Ostapenko, OlegColonel General
Oleg Ostapenko
(born 1957)
30 June 20081 December 20113 years
Vladimir M. Ivanov
Ivanov, Vladimir M.Vladimir M. Ivanov
(born 1957)
201220120 years
Aleksandr Golovko
Golovko, AleksandrColonel General
Aleksandr Golovko
(born 1964)
1 August 2015Incumbent5 years

See also


  1. ^ International Institute for Strategic Studies: The Military Balance 2014, p. 181
  2. ^ Lindborg, Christina (1997). "VKS". World Space Guide. Federation of American Scientists. Archived from the original on November 23, 2011. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Russian Public TV (ORT), Moscow, in Russian 1700 gmt March 28, 2001, via BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
  4. ^ "Russia's Aerospace Defense Forces go on duty to stave off missile threats". RIA Novosti. December 1, 2011. Archived from the original on January 3, 2012. Retrieved December 25, 2011.
  5. ^ "Aerospace Forces". Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2016.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 5, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Russia creates new Aerospace Force service branch Archived December 27, 2015, at the Wayback Machine,, August 4, 2015
  8. ^ "4 октября – День военно-космических сил России" [October 4 – Day of Military Space Forces in Russia] (in Russian). Prazdnuem. n.d. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  9. ^ ITAR-Tass news agency, via Archived August 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Oleg Ostapenko". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. n.d. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 30, 2018. Retrieved September 30, 2018.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Sourcebook on the Okno (в/ч 52168), Krona (в/ч 20096) and Krona-N (в/ч 20776) Space Surveillance Sites" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. December 30, 2008. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 12, 2012.
  14. ^ Kommersant-Vlast, May 14, 2002,[dead link]
  15. ^ Podvig, Pavel (2002). "History and the Current Status of the Russian Early-Warning System" (PDF). Science and Global Security. 10: 21–60. CiteSeerX doi:10.1080/08929880212328. ISSN 0892-9882. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 15, 2012.
  16. ^ Petrov, Nikita (February 5, 2008). "Kiev Radar Row Set to Inflame Tensions Part One". Space Mart/RIA Novosti. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  17. ^ "9 ДИВИЗИЯ ПРОТИВОРАКЕТНОЙ ОБОРОНЫ" [9 DIVISION MISSILE DEFENCE] (in Russian). Warfare.Ru. n.d. Retrieved March 24, 2012.
  18. ^ "Space Forces". Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation. Archived from the original on July 23, 2018. Retrieved July 23, 2018.

External links

  • Russia Create a Robot for Open Space
  • Russian military spacecraft
  • Russian Space Forces poster