CIA assessments of Soviet future space capabilities

trekkist

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Specifically, on Figure 1. Absent from the "US" side are Mercury & Gemini; absent the Soviet, Vostok/Voskhod. Present, however...well, take a look:

http://fas.org/irp/cia/product/sovsta82.pdf
 

bazz

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Oh very interesting a lifting body craft is listed new to Soyuz.

What is this document? has it been verified?

Thanks for posting
 

blackstar

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Who should verify it?

It's legit. It's a declassified CIA document, part of a bunch on the Soviet space program that have been declassified over the years. You can find it yourself by searching here:

http://www.foia.cia.gov/
 

mz

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http://www.buran-energia.com/bor/bor-carac.php
The Kosmos 1374 flown in 1982 of course is the BOR-4.

It's the third Soviet spacecraft, the smaller lifting body in the graphic.

Ie Soyuz, big lifting body, small lifting body.

What's the 1976 lifting body? It might be the Spiral of which BOR-4 was a 1:2 model.

EDIT:
So Spiral was cancelled in 1976 for Buran, but they continued some testing.
There's a multitude of conflicting and reused designations, but one big one is EPOS.
From http://www.buran-energia.com/spiral/epos-desc.php
The plane for the subsonic speed of code name "105.11", the plane for supersonic "105.12", and hypersonic speeds "105.13". To test the planes in the space flight, BOR models (Orbital Plane without Pilot) were built. [etc etc read the whole story!]
 

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trekkist

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So what's with the difference in content between the upper part of the above diagram, and the lower? The latter consists *exclusively* of spacecraft that had in fact *flown* prior to 1982 (the document's date of publication). Excluded are Vostok and Voskhod, which might be considered "developmental," not "operational."

The upper part of the diagram? Quite different...according to public record. Excluded...consistently...are Mercury and Gemini. But *included* is a "non-flown" vehicle. Which begs the question: why? And turning to the text, what exactly rated censoring, circa 2000 (the document's date of declassification), about the anomalous element of the upper diagram?

I'm not being coy to be cute. The possible answer rather gives me the creeps. I'd welcome a (similarly coy, if you please) alternate theory of what's being presented here.
 

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trekkist said:
I'm not being coy to be cute. The possible answer rather gives me the creeps. I'd welcome a (similarly coy, if you please) alternate theory of what's being presented here.

Incompetance, laziness, lack of understanding of just what was supposed to go in the illustration, someone screwing around, etc.
 

OM

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blackstar said:
Who should verify it?

...I dunno. You tell us. How do *you* verify the validity of the documents you come across when doubt exists?
 

mz

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Umm the soviet "1976 lifting body" has not flown AFAIK, only the smaller "1982" BOR model. Probably Dyna-Soar is there just for comparison, as a small shuttle style craft.
 

Dynoman

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As the document states, these diagrams are for size and comparison purposes. They are not presented to showcase US and USSR manned spacecraft, but instead illustrate representative US vehicles that are similar to the projected Soviet designs.

The vehicles are (as noted above):

Lifting Body (1976) = MiG-105 Spiral first flown subsonically in 1976

Cosmos 1374 (1982) = BOR 4, an unmanned subscale vehicle of a manned concept flown between 1982 and 1984 as Cosmos 1374, 1445, 1517, and 1616.

Shuttle (late 1980's) = Shuttle Buran, only unmanned flight Nov 1988

Space Plane (1983) = Text says "...Soviets may introduce," a spaceplane similar to X-20 for station resupply and orbital reconnaissance. The US was insistent that the Soviets were developing the Uragan spaceplane (a design based on the Spiral). However, the Russians still maintain that this program did not exist.

As for the declassification of 2000: The document has redacted data that most likely has time sensitive 'methods and techniques' of how the data was collected (e.g. satellite systems, sources on the ground, etc.). These intelligence collection techniques were aparently still viable sources of data eight years after the document was written.
 

blackstar

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trekkist said:
1--So what's with the difference in content between the upper part of the above diagram, and the lower? The latter consists *exclusively* of spacecraft that had in fact *flown* prior to 1982 (the document's date of publication). Excluded are Vostok and Voskhod, which might be considered "developmental," not "operational."

2--The upper part of the diagram? Quite different...according to public record. Excluded...consistently...are Mercury and Gemini. But *included* is a "non-flown" vehicle. Which begs the question: why? And turning to the text, what exactly rated censoring, circa 2000 (the document's date of declassification), about the anomalous element of the upper diagram?

3--I'm not being coy to be cute. The possible answer rather gives me the creeps. I'd welcome a (similarly coy, if you please) alternate theory of what's being presented here.

1-You're overinterpreting the document. These things are included to be illustrative, not exhaustive. It's clear that they picked some of them like Dyna-Soar and Apollo because their size was roughly equivalent to the Soviet ones. Once you've included Apollo, you don't need to include Mercury and Gemini.

2-Dyna-Soar was undoubtedly included to be illustrative, to show that the US has looked at winged spacecraft like the Russian ones before. As for stuff being deleted, don't read too much into that. You'd be surprised at how often they delete information that turns out to be pretty darned boring. Sometimes they do it simply because it came from another report with a higher classification level. For instance, they might get the information on the existence of a vehicle from a Russian magazine, but the dimensions come from a classified Russian military journal that somebody in Poland stole from the military library and sold to the CIA. Different source, higher classification level, and it gets deleted.

3-There's nothing creepy about this at all. It's a pretty straightforward analysis document. Go to the CIA FOIA website I linked to and do some searches of your own. You'll find that this is just one of a whole bunch of documents declassified from 1999-2001 or so on the Soviet space program. There's assessments of the TKS, comsats, reconsats, Salyut, and a bunch on future plans that never panned out, like manned Mars missions. They're a nice snapshot of what the CIA thought was happening, but they are not 100% accurate.

It's worth noting that the Soviet space program became more open starting in the mid-1980s. They revealed a lot more in open sources. It made the CIA's job easier. You can see this reflected in the open source publication (produced by a contractor for the USAF, I believe) called The Soviet Year in Space. Those publications get much more detailed by the mid-later 1980s.
 

Dynoman

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What is interesting to me about the document is that the decision to copy the US orbiter configuration was made in June of 1976 and US intelligence estimates of 1982 have the Soviet Shuttle configured as a lifting body type vehicle. Six years after the large national USSR program was initiated and the design 'solidified.' I think it shows that US efforts to obtain data on early Soviet space designs were based more on analysis and less on physical data.

Knowledge of Spiral vehicle development and the transfer of MiG-105 designers to the NPO may have lead US analyst to the conclusion that the Soviet design was a lifting body. Also, there is no mention or allusion to System 49, Chelomei LAKS, MTKVA or the Uragan, except for the space plane reference.

Its interesting to see, in a document such as this, how well paced US intelligence estimates are, where the information comes from, and how much weight is given to it.
 

GeorgeA

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blackstar said:
It's worth noting that the Soviet space program became more open starting in the mid-1980s. They revealed a lot more in open sources. It made the CIA's job easier. You can see this reflected in the open source publication (produced by a contractor for the USAF, I believe) called The Soviet Year in Space. Those publications get much more detailed by the mid-later 1980s.

James Oberg at Teledyne Brown, IIRC.
 

blackstar

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GeorgeA said:
James Oberg at Teledyne Brown, IIRC.

Not Oberg, it was Nick Johnson, who is now an orbital debris expert at NASA JSC. He did "The Soviet Year in Space" during the 1980s. Then it became "Europe and Asia in Space" for two editions, then stopped. I have:

1984
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990

All "The Soviet Year in Space." Not sure when the first edition came out, but it might have been 1981.

Also "Europe & Asia in Space":
1991-1992
1993-1994

That was when it ended.
 

OM

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blackstar said:
GeorgeA said:
James Oberg at Teledyne Brown, IIRC.

Not Oberg, it was Nick Johnson, who is now an orbital debris expert at NASA JSC. He did "The Soviet Year in Space" during the 1980s. Then it became "Europe and Asia in Space" for two editions, then stopped. I have:

1984
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990

All "The Soviet Year in Space." Not sure when the first edition came out, but it might have been 1981.

Also "Europe & Asia in Space":
1991-1992
1993-1994

That was when it ended.

...Anyone know if PDFs of these finally wound up online somewhere?
 

bazz

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Hi all new poster been lurking for a while.

Can I just clarify that this document is what the CIA thought the Ruskies might have been up to it is not intelligence per se on what operational crafts they had at the time?
 

blackstar

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bazz said:
Can I just clarify that this document is what the CIA thought the Ruskies might have been up to it is not intelligence per se on what operational crafts they had at the time?

The title is "capabilities and intentions," so it dealt with both. Of course, the problem for the analysts at that time was determining whether projects in the Soviet Union were merely studies or were actual development programs. A colleague who has gone through former Soviet archives has said that the Soviets did a lot of studies of things that they could build, so they had ambitions much bigger than their economy could support.
 

bazz

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Thanks mate, I got excited for a second, interesting still though. :D
 

blackstar

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bazz said:
Thanks mate, I got excited for a second, interesting still though. :D

Go to the CIA FOIA site I listed earlier and search around. Type in "Mars" or "space" or "satellite" as a search term and see what shows up. There are several dozen reports similar to that one available. Once you figure out how to navigate the site it's pretty easy to use.
 

blackstar

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Unfortunately, the CIA didn't make it easy to download the documents as pdfs. You can only grab individual pages. Here are the pages from their report on "Soviet Options for a Manned Mars Landing Mission."
 

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blackstar

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Here's the rest of the Mars assessment.

(Sidenote: this thread title does not make sense.)
 

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Matej

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blackstar said:
Unfortunately, the CIA didn't make it easy to download the documents as pdfs. You can only grab individual pages.

Unless you are lucky and you bought full Adobe Acrobat (that allows you to print all the pages directly as PDF).

blackstar said:
Sidenote: this thread title does not make sense.

Suggest better. I will change it.
 

blackstar

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Matej said:
blackstar said:
Unfortunately, the CIA didn't make it easy to download the documents as pdfs. You can only grab individual pages.

1-Unless you are lucky and you bought full Adobe Acrobat (that allows you to print all the pages directly as PDF).

blackstar said:
Sidenote: this thread title does not make sense.

2-Suggest better. I will change it.

1-my definition of "easy" would be a convenient button on the site that says "download as pdf," as opposed to requiring individuals to buy software to enable this.

2-how about "CIA assessments of Soviet future space capabilities"?
 

bazz

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blackstar said:
bazz said:
Thanks mate, I got excited for a second, interesting still though. :D

Go to the CIA FOIA site I listed earlier and search around. Type in "Mars" or "space" or "satellite" as a search term and see what shows up. There are several dozen reports similar to that one available. Once you figure out how to navigate the site it's pretty easy to use.

Thanks buddy I will check it out.
 

blackstar

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Here's another one.
 

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Proponent

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Matej said:
blackstar said:
Unfortunately, the CIA didn't make it easy to download the documents as pdfs. You can only grab individual pages.

Unless you are lucky and you bought full Adobe Acrobat (that allows you to print all the pages directly as PDF).

When I open the document from Firefox running on Ubuntu Linux and print, I get an option to "print to file". The resulting PDF file is attached. Maybe Firefox under Windows has a similar print-to-file option?
 

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bigvlada

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You can install free pdf redirect 2.25 virtual printer. I've made pdf files from opera, explorer, word, excel and power point without any problems.
 
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