The spacecraft-destroying cannon on the Soviet space station

Avatar of Nick John By Nick John Dec12,2023 #Soviet #spacecraft
The spacecraft-destroying cannon on the Soviet space station 0
The spacecraft-destroying cannon on the Soviet space station 0

Complete design of the R-23M space cannon.

In the early 1960s, worried about the prospect of American spacecraft approaching, spying on and even destroying their military satellites, the Soviet Union developed the R-23M Kartech space gun, one of the weapons

The Soviet Union’s first space station project, codenamed Almaz (Diamond), is the leading candidate to equip this defensive artillery system.

Weapon development was assigned to the KB Tochmash Design Bureau under the leadership of Aleksandr Nudelman, an engineer who had many groundbreaking achievements in the field of air weapons since World War II.

The cannon has an average rate of fire of 950-5,000 rounds/minute, each explosive shell weighing 200 grams has a muzzle velocity of 690 m/s.

However, the small size of the space station makes this weapon limited.

While the R-23M gun has been in development since the mid-1970s, the rest of the Almaz project is behind schedule.

The fact that the US Skylab space station was expected to launch into space in 1973 put the Soviet Union at risk of losing the race to put the first space station into orbit.

After gaining the upper hand in the space race, the Kremlin allowed the Almaz project to continue but under the guise of a civilian space station.

Only after the dissolution of the Soviet Union did sources in Russia reveal that the R-23M cannon was fired in orbit on January 24, 1975 on the Salyut-3 space station.

To cope with the terrible recoil from the cannon, the Salyut-3 station had to activate the thruster at the same time the R-23M opened fire.

However, the results of the test are still kept secret.

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