JSC Academician M.F. ReshetnevInformation Satellite Systems

1959-1970

The time period between 1959 and 1970 was marked by the company’s efforts to define its specialization and can be generally referred to as ‘formative years’. The fledging company started off with design supervision of the R-14 missile which had been developed by OKB-586 of Dnepropetrovsk led by Mikhail Yangel and later went into production at the Krasnoyarsk Machine Building Plant. The first Siberian ballistic missile R-14 was launched from the Kapustin Yar site in mid-January 1962.

The first space project that OKB-10 (that became the new name of the company when it was reorganized into an independent design bureau in 1961) was fully in charge of was the development of a light-lift launch vehicle of the Cosmos family. It was derived from the operational R-14 missile design. The company made a name for itself on August 18, 1964 with a successful launch of a Cosmos-3 launch vehicle that placed three experimental satellites Cosmos-38, -39, -40 into designated orbits. Three days later two communications satellites of the Strela-1 series (Cosmos-42 and Cosmos-43) developed by the Reshetnev team were successfully launched from Kapustin Yar. That day proved to be a turning point since Siberia became the place where not only rockets but also satellites were born.

Starting from the mid-1960s, OKB-10 concentrated its efforts on the manufacture of the most powerful satellites at that time – Molniya-1 series intended for highly elliptical orbits. Three Molniya-1 satellites were launched into space in 1967. Satellites of this type were part of the world’s first communications and television broadcasting network based on satellites in highly elliptical orbits.         

In parallel with the Molniya-1 program, the company was busy developing satellites for navigation and geodetic applications. The year 1967 saw the first launch of a Tsiklon satellite which was intended for navigation and communication needs. The year 1968, in its turn, was marked by the launch of the first soviet geodetic satellite Sfera.

The company was renamed KB PM (Design Bureau of Applied Mechanics) in 1966. Within the first ten years of its existence the company laid the foundations for developing satellite technologies, including personal communications, navigation and geodetic satellites.