Site 16 (Pad No. 2) for Soyuz rocket in Plesetsk

Soon after the completion of Pad No. 1 for the R-7 missile in Plesetsk, a second pad was built northeast from the original launch complex. It would also become a space launch site, however, unlike its predecessor it has remained operational until this day. A military unit No. 14003 responsible for all operations at Pad No. 2 was officially declared to be on duty on April 15, 1960.

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Site 16

A mosaic of satellite images showing Site 16 in Plesetsk. Credit: Google Earth

The second launch pad built in Plesetsk remained an operational ICBM site until 1967. Ballistic missile operations officially ceased at Pad No. 2 on January 7 and its launch team was officially disbanded following June. In the meantime, from January 7 to February 3, as many as 16 various components from Pad No. 2 were "cannibalized" and shipped to Baikonur, in order to re-build a launch pad at Site 31, which was badly damaged by a fire and explosion of a launch vehicle with an unmanned Soyuz spacecraft on Dec. 14, 1966. As a result, Pad No. 2 in Plesetsk remained out of commission until 1979. However a deadly explosion and extensive damage at Pad No. 4 in Plesetsk in March 1980 urgently required to re-activate Pad No. 2. A training rocket was rolled out there for tests in December 1980. Launches finally resumed on Feb. 19, 1981, with a liftoff of an early-warning satellite.

On June 7, 1994, the last Zenit satellite was launched from Pad No. 2.

From 2004, the same site was used for launches of Kobalt-M satellites. From 1981 to 2006, a total of 127 space launches lifted off from this site.

By June 2013, the Russian Minister of Defense and the Commander of the Air and Space Defense Forces made a decision to deploy the launch and processing facilities for the Soyuz-2.1v rocket at the unused Site 16. Launches were expected to start in two-three years. (654) In December 2016, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that preparatory work for the refurbishment of the third launch pad for a Soyuz-2 series had been underway and all facilities would be operational by 2019.

Next chapter: Site 43

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Pad No. 2 (SK-2) summary:

Site No.
Launch complex, SK
Battle station No.
Military unit No. (V/Ch)
Operational date
First R-7A launch
First orbital launch
SK-2 (17P32-2)
1960 February
1981 Feb. 19
Used for Soyuz and Molniya-M rockets; Oko, Kobalt-M satellites.


Page author: Anatoly Zak

Last update: December 31, 2016

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Pad 2 (SK-2) in Plesetsk.