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Digital Archive International History Declassified

May 22, 1959

DECREE OF THE CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE AND USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS ON VOSTOK

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    Decree of the Central Committee and Council of Ministers officially titled “On the Object Vostok,” approving the development of the Vostok reconnaissance satellite.
    "Decree of the CPSU Central Committee and USSR Council of Ministers on Vostok," May 22, 1959, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Selected, edited, and annotated by Asif Siddiqi. Translated by Gary Goldberg and Angela Greenfield. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/260532
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DOCUMENT No. 5

Decree of the Central Committee and Council of Ministers officially titled “On the Object Vostok,” approving the development of the Vostok reconnaissance satellite.”[1] – Asif Siddiqi

Nº 569-264     

May 22, 1959

Top Secret of

Special Importance

maintain with encryption

Attaching great importance to the matter of the use of oriented Earth satellites for intelligence purposes and in development of the CPSU CC and USSR Council of Ministers Decree Nº 277-125 of March 14, 1959 the Central Committee and the USSR Council of Ministers DECREES to:

1. Consider the creation of artificial Earth satellites for military reconnaissance purposes and ship navigation an urgent defense task.

2. Accept the proposal of the USSR Council of Ministers State Committee on Defense Technology (Comrades Rudnev, Korolev and Glushko), the USSR Council of Ministers State Committee on Radio-Electronics (Comrades Kalmykov, Ryazanskiy, and Pilyugin), USSR Council of Ministers State Committee on Shipbuilding (Comrades Butoma and Kuznetsov), the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers on Aviation Technology (Comrade Dement’yev), the USSR Ministry of Defense (Comrades Malinovskiy and Nedelin), the RSFSR Council of Ministers (Comrades Ryabikov and Barmin), the USSR Academy of Sciences (Comrades Nesmeyanov and Keldysh) about the development and creation of an oriented artificial reconnaissance (the object Vostok) between 1959 and 1961 to solve the following main tasks:

- the performance of reconnaissance of the territory of the probable enemy with the aid of photographic and television devices;

- the performance of communications intelligence of the means of the probable enemy;

- the performance of target data acquisition of the facilities of the probable enemy.

3. With the goal of the experimental verification of the principles embedded in the design of a reconnaissance satellite (the orientation systems, the braking engine unit, the design of a descent vehicle of the apparatus to [return to] Earth, photographic and television devices), hold the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers on Aviation Technology, the USSR Council of Ministers State Committee for Electronics, the USSR Ministry of Defense, the USSR Academy of Sciences, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers on Shipbuilding, the USSR Ministry of Higher Education, the USSR Ministry of Culture, Glavniiproyekt [the Main Directorate of Scientific-Research and Design Organizations] under USSR Gosplan, the RSFSR Council of Ministers, the Ukrainian SSR Council of Ministers, the USSR Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Committee for State Security under the USSR Council of Ministers, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Chemistry, the USSR Ministry of Health, the State Committee for Radio and Television Broadcasting under the USSR Council of Ministers, and the Academy of Sciences of the Ukrainian SSR responsible for ensuring the design, experimental design, and scientific-research work to create the object “Vostok” and to prepare for launch the first experimental object in 1959 according to the proposal.[2]

4. Establish that the lead organizations to create object Vostok object:

- for the creation of the rocket and objects – OKB-1 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology (Comrade Korolev);

- for the creation the rocket motors – OKB-456 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology (Comrade Glushko);

- for the creation of the booster rocket control system – NII-885 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Radio-Electronics (Comrades Ryazanskiy and Pilyugin);

- for the gyroscopic instruments and orientation systems of the object – NII-944 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Shipbuilding (Comrade Kuznetsov);

- for the orientation system – NII-1 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Aviation Technology;

- for the trajectory, telemetry measurement, and radio transmission link of television signals from the object – OKB of the MEI [the Moscow Power Engineering Institute] of the USSR Ministry of Education (Comrade Bogomolov);

- for the television systems – VNII-380 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Electronics;

- for the creation of the engine braking propulsion system of the object – OKB-2 of the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology (Comrade Isaev);

- for the on-board electrical equipment – NII-627 of Glavniiproyekt under USSR Gosplan (Comrade Iosif’yan);

- for the solution of the scientific problems associated with spaceflight and the calculation of the trajectories, the development of an apparatus for scientific research and conducting astronomical observations – the Special Commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences for Object “D” (Comrade Keldysh);

- for the ground launch, lifting and transport, and refueling equipment to launch the objects - the GSKB [State Union Design Bureau] of Spetsmash of the Moscow (City) Council of the National Economy (Comrade Barmin);

- for the development of a design for an observation, measurements, communications and common time complex, conducting observations, the processing of results, and the forecasting of the movement of the object – NII-4 of the USSR Ministry of Defense (Comrade Sokolov);

- to conduct launches of the object Vostok - the USSR Ministry of Defense.

The monitoring and operational and technical coordination of the work on the oriented reconnaissance artificial Earth satellites is entrusted to the USSR Council of Ministers’ Commission on Military Industrial Questions.

Supervision of the launch of the objects is entrusted to the Commission to Carry Out Flight Tests of Article R-7A.[3]

5. In order to save time and resources grant the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology, State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Radio-Electronics, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Shipbuilding, the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Aviation Technology, the USSR Ministry of Defense, the Special Commission of the USSR Academy of Sciences for Object “D,” and the GSKB Spetsmash of the Moscow (City) Council of the National Economy in coordination with the Commission of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers for Military Industrial Questions the right to use articles and elements created and being created for other articles for the creation of the “Vostok” experimental object. Permit the use for these purposes two R-7 rockets being manufactured according to the 1959 serial production plan with subsequent compensation in the first quarter of 1960.

6. Charge the State Committee of the USSR Council of Ministers for Defense Technology, the USSR Academy of Sciences, and the USSR Ministry of Defense with developing and submitting proposals at the end of 1959 to manufacture and launch subsequent Vostok objects in 1960.

7. Hold USSR Gosplan, the RSFSR Council of Ministers, the Ukrainian SSR Council of Ministers, and the [USSR] Ministry of Foreign Trade responsible for meeting the need for funding and planning materials and equipment for fulfilling the goals of the object Vostok as approved by the Commission of the Presidium of the USSR Council of Ministers for Military Industrial Questions at top priority and at the expense of any sources, if necessary postponing delivery times to other customers.

8. Give the USSR Ministry of Defense the right to spend 60 million rubles in 1959 of the money budgeted to the USSR Ministry of Defense for section “B” of special work for payment for the manufacture of antenna devices, the construction of bases and the necessary structures for them, in connection with which increase the amount of capital work for 1959 by 20 million rubles, including by 15 million rubles for construction and assembly work.

9. Permit the Moscow (Oblast’) Council of the National Economy to move the deadline for the performance of experimental-design and scientific-research work on the creation of the aerial photography apparatus (AShchAFA-5M [a focal plane shutter aerial camera], AFA-SP [an aerial camera]) and perspective panoramic aerial photography apparatus) envisioned by USSR Council of Ministers Decrees Nº 788-437 of June 11, 1956, Nº 609-294 of June 6, 1958, and USSR Council of Ministers Instruction Nº 2054 of June 27, 1958.

Perform the work according to the following schedules:

- for the AShchAFA-5M aerial camera in the second quarter of 1960;

- for the AFA-SP aerial camera in the third quarter of 1960;

- for the perspective panoramic aerial photography apparatus with a focus length of 40 cm - in the second quarter of 1960, and with a focal length of 100 cm – in the fourth quarter of 1961.

10. Permit the USSR Ministry of Defense (NII-4) to construct a measuring station in an allotted land plot in the region of the city of Shchelkovo of Moscow Oblast’ for the purpose of providing orbital measurements and the receipt of information from special oriented artificial Earth satellites.

11. Charge the USSR Council of Ministers State Committee for Radio-Electronics (Comrade Kalmykov) with selecting an organization within a month for the comprehensive development of a system for the orientation and control of oriented Vostok satellites and to submit their proposals on this question to the USSR Council of Ministers.

12. Grant the Commission of the USSR Council of Ministers for Military Industrial Questions the right to use on objects “Ye” and Vostok in 1959 the money which remained that was allocated by CPSU CC and USSR Council of Ministers Decree Nº 343-166 of March 20, 1958 for bonuses for the successful performance of assignments in a short time.

THE CPSU CENTRAL COMMITTEE

THE USSR COUNCIL OF MINISTERS

Archival source: APRF, f. 3, op.47, d. 275, ll. 2-5. Certified copy

[1] This was formally approved by a decree of the Presidium of the Central Committee on May 22, 1959 – Minutes Nº 219, “A Question of the Commission of the USSR Council of Ministers on Military-Industrial Questions” (see: APRF, d. 3, op. 47, d. 275, l. 1). In the upper left-hand corner of the document is a stamp: “Subject to return to group Nº 1 of the special unit of the USSR Council of Ministers’ Directorate of Administration within 24 hours. In the top margin of the first sheet is a typed note: “To Cde. N. S. Khrushchev – [to the] CPSU CC.” Below the document it is certified by a mastic seal, “Directorate of Administration of the USSR Council of Ministers. General Office.”

[2] This is a reference to a detailed “Plan for Project Planning, Experimental-Design and Scientific-Research Work for the Creation of the Object Vostok” which was an appendix to this document.

[3] The Commission to Carry Out Flight Tests of Article R-7 was formed by USSR Council of Ministers decree Nº 1239-630 of August 31, 1956 by the decree “Approval of the Commission to Supervise the Tests of Article R-7” and partially changed in accordance with USSR Council of Ministers Instruction Nº 2708rs of September 23, 1959. By a Central Committee decision this same Commission was entrusted with supervision of the tests of rocket R-7A. V. M. Ryabikov was appointed chairman of the Commission and M. I. Nedelin, K. N. Rudnev, and L. A. Grishin were appointed deputy chairmen.

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