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astronautix.com Terra-3


Class: Military. Type: ASAT. Nation: USSR. Agency: MO. Manufacturer: NPO.

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 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 on 10 October 1984. This caused malfunctions to on-board equipment and temporary blinding of the crew, leading to a US diplomatic protest.


Specification


Terra-3 Chronology


10 October 1984 Terra-3 illuminates US shuttle.

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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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .