Ground control network in Vostochny

Like most launch sites around the world, Vostochny had to be equipped with its own network of ground stations, which would track and control space missions originating at the space center. The ground station closest to the launch site became known as Vostochny Command and Measurement Point or VKIP.


A satellite view of the ground station, VKIP at Site 9 (bottom) in Vostochny in November 2014. The main transport artery of the center leads to the launch facilities on the right. The road to the airport heads north (top left).

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Location and design

The Vostochny Command and Measurement Point, VKIP, serves as a part of the Complex for Measurement, Gathering and Processing of Information or KSISO. It includes all the facilities for radar and optical tracking of launches, processing of telemetry, predicting of flight trajectories and keeping accurate timing of missions.

According to original plans, Site 9 hosting the VKIP station, would be situated on a hill, several kilometers northeast of the airport area. However, by the time the construction started in Vostochny, VKIP had to be moved much farther south, likely because its original area would remain undeveloped in the first phase of construction in Vostochny from 2012 to 2015, while a ground station was deemed necessary for the very first launch. As a result, Site 9 was moved to a hill located southwest of the launch facilities and adjacent to the main road of the center. The layout of the VKIP station nearly matched the perimeter of the abandoned silo for a Soviet-era ICBM, which used to be deployed at that location.

In addition to the VKIP ground station, Site 9 also accommodated an indoor car park and a civil defense emergency shelter with a total area of 2,200 square meters.

The main ground control building was accompanied by 18 concrete towers for tracking and communications antennas and by a 85-meter-tall truss structure, which was nicknamed Eiffel Tower. It was reportedly designed for accurate calibration of ground control antennas.

According to Russian space officials, the single ground control station at Site 9 was designed to support all three launch facilities: the Soyuz pad; a dual Angara complex and the yet-to-be approved launch site for a super-heavy rocket.



An aerial view of the ground control station in Vostochny during its construction circa 2015. A makeshift town for workers at the KSISO site could accommodate up to 300 people, the official Interfax agency claimed.

The RKS corporation, which is traditionally responsible for flight control systems within the Russian space industry, completed the preliminary design of the KSISO complex in 2012, cleary behind other facilities in Vostochny. Satellite images showed tree clearing activities and initial construction at Site 9 only in the fall of 2013. Foundations for key facilities at Site 9 were excavated by February 2014. The following month, Spetsstroi, the main contractor on the Vostochny project, reported that the construction was going at full swing at most facilities of the KSISO complex. According to the Interfax news agency, 200 workers were involved in the construction of the KSISO facilities by the end of 2014, including the assembly of an 85-meter calibration tower.

In April 2015, the Spetstroi said that the construction of the KSISO facility was approaching completion under a contract which set a deadline for the project on June 30.

On June 18, 2015, Roskosmos announced that the ground station in Vostochny had began operations. However, the press-release specified that the first data from the International Space Station, ISS, had been received at the site a day earlier by a Mobile (hence temporary) Measurement Station, MIP, which had been deployed at the site by the RKS corporation. The test aimed to prepare for the launch of the Soyuz-2-1a rocket, the agency said.

The temporary facility consisted of two mobile containers with equipment capable of transmitting telemetry to Vostochny via data-relay satellites. At the time, RKS corporation was still waiting for the completion of the permanent site and its wiring to the spaceport's power grid.

On July 18, 2016, the costruction company FGUP Spetsstroitekhnologii announced that the development work at the measurement complex had been completed and the facilities were in process of transfer to customers. The State Commission overseeing the project was expected to meet at the end of July 2016 to declare the complex operational, the company promised.

A total of 218 volumes of documentation describing the facility was produced for the customer.


Tiksi ground station

In addition to the main tracking site at the spaceport, Roskosmos also planned ground stations located downrange from Vostochny along flight trajectories of various rockets. One such site was to be located near the town of Tiksi in Bulunsk District, in the Yakut Republic.

In addition, a Mobile Measurement Point, MIP, was planned to be placed on the Admiral Makarov icebreaker, which would be deployed in Japanese Sea 200 kilometers east of Vladivostok and 2,000 kilometers dowrange from Vostochny.

In September 2023, RKS Corporation said it had planned to build a new tracking station north of the Arctic Circle, near the town of Tiksi in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutiya). The site would support launches of the Angara-5 rocket from Vostochny into an orbit with an inclination 97 degrees toward the Equator, which had been chosen for the Russian Orbital Station, ROS, to succeed the International Space Station, ISS.

Sakhalin tracking station


Construction of antennas on the Sakhalin Island in 2023.

In 2019, Roskosmos announced a 2,436-billion-ruble ($36.8 million) tender for a ground station on the Sakhalin Island, off Russia's East Coast, which would be situated near the ground track of launch vehicles heading from Vostochny to orbits with an inclination 51.7 degrees toward the Equator. At the time, this flight path was expected to be used by Angara rockets to enter initial parking orbits before their payloads could be transferred to near-equatorial orbits. Roskosmos timed the completion of the new ground facility with the introduction of the Angara's launch pad in Vostochny then planned at the end of 2022. According to the RKS Corporation, responsible for ground control equipment, the station would be built in the Poronaisk District in Central Sakhalin.

In May 2020, the Vostochny directorate re-published the tender, this time at a slightly higher price tag of 2,465.66 billion rubles for the same facility with the construction completion deadline on December 31, 2022. According to the documentation of the contract, the facility was expected to include the KIS Klen command and measurement system, a satellite ground station, residential and support facilities.

The communications hardware was to include nine high-sensitivity antenna towers and a central technical facility for data processing. The tower's rotating mechanisms with a mass ranging from 30 to 40 tons were designed to hold 12-meter antenna dishes with a mass from 10 to 15 tons.

The 12-hectar site would also include an administrative building and a hotel, supporting the permanent staff of around 100 people.

Despite an initial deadline for completion at the end of 2022, the construction of the facility on the Sakhalin Island was reported continuing as late as July 2023, along with other infrastructure for the Angara rocket in Vostochny.

At the end of November 2023, the local web site reported that antenna dishes of the TNA-12M system were undergoing assembly at the site and the completion of the facility was now planned for 2024, apparently ahead of the first launch of the Angara-5 rocket from Vostochny (INSIDER CONTENT) then expected in March 2024.


The article by Anatoly Zak; Last update: January 3, 2024

Page editor: Alain Chabot; Last edit: June 22, 2015

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Click to enlarge. Credit: Google Earth circa 2007


Vostochny's main ground control station was built at the site of an old ICBM silo. Click to enlarge. Credit: Roskosmos



General layout of the Command and Measurement Point, KIP, in Vostochny, located southwest of the launch facilities. Credit: Roskosmos


An antenna tower under construction in Vostochny at the beginning of April 2015. Click to enlarge. Credit: Spetsstroi


The calibration tower in Vostochny in April 2015. Click to enlarge. Credit: Spetsstroi