A new arm of the service, Space forces, created under the Decree of the RF President

24 March 2001

The first space military units were formed in the USSR in 1955, when, by resolution of the Government of the USSR, it was decided to construct the Research test site № 5 of the USSR Ministry of Defence (now State Test Cosmodrome Baikonur).

To ensure the safety of spacecrafts was established a ground automated control system (NAKU) which consisted of measuring and control points (KIP) located throughout the country (and later on specialized ships too). In May 1957, near Moscow, began the construction of the center of command-measuring complex - now it is the General trial center for testing and control of space vehicles (GITSIU KS) n. a. G. S. Titov.

October 4, 1957 the units of spacecraft launch and control launched the first artificial Earth satellite "PS-1”, and April 12, 1961 - launch and flight control of the world's first manned spaceship" Vostok" with cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board . In the future, all domestic and international space programs were carried out with direct participation of military units of spacecraft launch and control.

In 1964 was established the Central Office of space vehicles (TSUKOS) of the Ministry of Defence. In 1970, in order to develop space vehicles for the benefit of all branches of the USSR Armed Forces, for the national economy and scientific research, the TSUKOS was reorganized into the General Directorate of space vehicles (GUKOS) of the Ministry of Defence.

In 1982, due to the significant increase in the volume of tasks, GUKOS and its subordinate units were removed from the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces and henceforth reported directly to the Minister of Defence of the USSR. Four years later GUKOS was reorganized into the Office Chief of space vehicles of the USSR Ministry of Defense (UNKS).

In August of 1992 were created Military and Space forces of the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation which later became a part of rocket forces of strategic purpose.

March 24, 2001 due to negative results of integration and the increasing role of space assets in the military and national security of Russia, under the decree of the President of the Russian Federation № 337s "On ensuring of construction and development of the Russian Armed Forces, improvement of their structure” were created the Space Forces of the Russian Defense Ministry.

Colonel General Anatoly Nikolaevich Perminov was assigned the commander of the RF Space Forces and Lieutenant General Vladimir Alexandrovich Popovkin, the Chief of Headquarters, became his first assistant.  

The Space forces included the formations and units of launch and piloting of space vehicles and the Rocket and Space Defense troops.

According to Perminov ‘the creation of Space forces was caused by the global economical and military tendencies. It was thoroughly weighted, absolutely reasonable and certainly contributed to efficiency of military and space activity, defense and security of the Russian Federation’.

Space forces of the RF became an absolutely new arm of the service with the following objectives: detect the beginning of a rocket attack against the RF and its allies; struggle with ballistic enemy rockets; control the space; fulfillment of the Russian Federal space program, the programs of international collaboration and commercial space programs.

The fulfillment of space defense programs is one of the essential strategic aspects of the state policy in the field of national security. However the presence of the Space forces is not just one of the key signs of the state military power. It is first of all the indicator of economical and scientific development of the country, its potential in the field of high technology.

Under the decree of the RF President N 549 of May 31, 2006 ‘On establishment of national holidays and memory days in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’ in honor of the launch of the first artificial Earth satellite the day of the 4th October was established as the Day of the Russian Space Forces.


Lit.: Копик А. Космические войска России // Новости космонавтики. 2003. № 4; «Космос — сфера жизненно важных интересов»: [беседа В. Давиденко с А. Н. Перминовым] // Новости космонавтики. 2002. № 12 С. 54-57; Об обеспечении строительства и развития Вооружённых Сил Российской Федерации, совершенствовании их структуры: Указ Президента РФ от 24.03.2001 г. № 337с // Российская газета. 2001, 30 марта.