A few dozen miles on foot through the snow. A barely walkable path winding through the woods. Our destination, the place we have come such a long way to see, is right around the corner.
This is the abandoned F-3 site of the 8th division of the Research and tracking station (NIP-14), where the following are located:
- A transmission P-200P antenna that is a part of the Saturn-MS-DRK system
- A two-level underground command communications center
Part 1: The Antenna
The P-200P transmission antenna (its dish 25 m, or 82 ft, in diameter), transmitters with a power of 20 — 40 KWt and a receiving KTNA-200 antenna (with the same diameter) were used for controlling lunar and interplanetary space stations.
Actually getting on the premises was not too difficult: the main gates, half buried in snow, were wide open, as if inviting us to walk in. However, in order to get to the gates one has to wade through the snow for miles.
The checkpoint at the entrance looked like it had just been in the middle of a nuclear strike. The only thing that suggested that people still come there from time to time was the operational lighting.
The P-200P itself:
A general view of the F-3 site:
Now we are heading right into the depths of satellite communications, into the very heart of the antenna:
We started our tour on the ground floor. In fact, there are 6 of them, including the basement.
The first room we looked into was a storage room. The military personnel had left all this equipment here to perish together with the antenna dish:
In one of the drawers we found the transit compass the tripod for which we had spotted in the hallway:
Almost everything here is covered in the whitewash that had peeled off the ceiling. The sight is typical of abandoned sites.
In the next room, various kinds of records were stored:
And next to it was the room from which the control of the antenna was carried out, in my understanding.
On the same floor there are numerous switch rooms:
Returning to the hallway, we head to the stairs and go up.
This time the white substance in the photo is snow. A massive rotation device stems from the upper level.
When you go up to that level, you realize that the device is really huge.
We are now on the 4th floor, which means the 5th and the 6th floors are still ahead. Going up a level, we found yet another storage room.
We hurry up the stairs again.
The final stage of the tour is climbing up a spiral staircase.
Through the hatch we get to the 6th floor where there are some more machines and devices.
The day is dying, you can see the light of the city coming through the trees, and green lamps installed on the premises are turning on.
Now we go back to where it all started: the first floor.
In the basement there was a small room where the engines are located.
“What is this? A cable gallery?..” For a while we stood at the beginning of the underground tunnel, staring inquiringly into the darkness.
“Why is it here? Where does it lead?”
Without thinking twice, we headed down the tunnel, cutting the obscurity with the rays of our flashlights.
The way was not that short, and there were even branches going sideways!
We walked on and on…
At one of the ends of the gallery there were stairs leading up and a locked door.
And at the other end there were stairs leading down. All of this was prompting lots of questions at the moment.
Part 2: The Bunker
It turned out that a two-level underground command center (CC) was behind that door.
Nearly all of the equipment at the F-3 site that was used for processing and transmitting signals to space vehicles was located here. In here, the Space Troops personnel kept their combat duty and took breaks, showers and meals.
Numerous cables go through the wall, supplying the gigantic CC with electric power.
We started exploring the bunker on the first floor. Inside one of the rooms there was the operator’s desk with equipment.
Also, the largest room of the bunker is located here, behind the glass.
There is a person in the photo for reference:
Some of the doors were sealed and nailed up.
We found three vent rooms on the first floor, which is a lot.
Moving on, we found quite a large switch room close by:
A pressurized hatch. What’s behind it is still a mystery.
The purpose of these units was not very clear to me. They look like emergency diesel power generators, but where would you pour the diesel?
There are two staircases leading to the second floor:
Here’s the other staircase.
Right next to the stairs there is an inclined way out of the bunker.
And here’s the view of this inclined way from the surface:
At the entrance there is a sign saying that the site belongs to the Ministry of Defense, and above it a volume sensor is installed. Continuing the tour of the first floor of the bunker, the next room we came to was a storage room:
Apparently, this was where the Space Troops personnel relaxed:
Curiously enough, the clock on the wall still keeps time.
And here’s another room where the personnel could take a break between combat duty shifts:
The next room is yet another storage.
The neighboring room is the vent room of the second floor:
A pressurized hatch leading into the vent shaft:
Next to it is a room with a wall-sized map:
This is it, we had explored all of the rooms in the bunker. We then rushed outside through the pressurized hatch in the floor 🙂
Images @ ulter1or