Encyclopedia Astronautica
Terra-3


Russian military anti-satellite system. Study 1984. OKB Vympel was the systems integrator for ground-based laser systems.

They built the major Terra-3 laser testing centre at Sary Shagan in the 1970's, which was eventually equipped with Astrofizika high energy red ruby and carbon dioxide lasers. But the energies were not sufficient for anti-ballistic missile use. The first applications would have to be limited to anti-satellite, and then primarily to blind optical sensors. After the American decision was taken into 1983 to initiate the 'Star Wars' strategic defense initiative program, Minister of Defense Ustinov requested that the Americans be challenged. As a 'warning shot' the Terra-3 complex was used to track the space shuttle Challenger with a low power laser on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.

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Associated Countries
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Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Vympel Russian manufacturer of rockets and spacecraft. Vympel Central Scientific Production Assoc. , Dubna, Russia More...

Terra-3 Chronology


1984 October 10 - .
  • Terra-3 illuminates US shuttle. - . Nation: USSR. Related Persons: Ustinov. Spacecraft: Terra-3. After the American decision was taken into 1983 to initiate the 'Star Wars' strategic defence initiative program, Minister of Defence Ustinov requested that the Americans be challenged. As a 'warning shot' the Terra-3 complex was used to track the space shuttle Challenger with a low power laser. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.

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