Report - - Soviet Satellite Dishes, Russia, April 2012 | European and International Sites | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Soviet Satellite Dishes, Russia, April 2012


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Soviet Satellite Dishes, Russia, April 2012

Last time I was in Russia I heard rumours of a massive satellite dish measuring 60m across, not far from Moscow. Hiring a car and heading due east from our lodgings in the capital, we soon started spotting metal dishes here and there. Most of these were situated in large, secure-looking compounds or air strips... so when we spotted a gate left open with a dish rising up on the horizon behind it, we decided to pull over a take a little look.

The yard on the other side was completely abandoned, now just collecting junk. There was a great selection of old Soviet trucks parked up, all with their engines removed... as well as a heavy goods unloading bay, various bits of machinery and a pile of old tires, stretched out for use in heavy snow. In another corner we found a bizarre plastic dome, grown over with weeds, and surrounded by discarded plastic bottles.

The dish itself stood in the middle of what appeared to be an old military base, surrounded by a high concrete wall. We hopped the fence into an area scattered with broken electrical equipment, televisions, books, clothes, all kinds of rubbish. Crossing another barrier we stepped onto the grass right beneath the dish itself.

The paint was flaking and the navy blue tiles were beginning to loose their shine, but it was an impressive sight nonetheless. We got a surprise though, when a group of soldiers began marching towards us from a building at the far end of the compound - turns out the site was still in military use, so we had to turn around and disappear sharpish!

We got a bit of hassle from the owner of the scrapyard as we headed back out to the car, but escaped with no more than a warning.

Back on the road, we followed our directions until we could see the larger dish in the distance... and it was massive. Apparently this was one of the largest satellite dishes the Soviets built, used for sending and receiving encoded messages during the Cold War. The entrance was tucked away along a dirt track, way off the main road. Inside were the remains of an old cargo plane, trucks and engines, and a number of corrugated metal huts. Towering over these was the largest satellite dish I’ve ever seen.

We tried hopping the fence, but first one, then two, and finally three guard dogs appeared out of nowhere... big, mangy, hungry looking dogs. There was no way we were getting in there without being mauled. As a last effort, we tried ringing the bell on the way back to the car, and eventually an old man came shuffling out to meet us. We tried talking him into letting us in but he wasn't impressed. We even offered him money - but he simply said, "you have nothing I need," and then walked slowly back to his guard hut.

For more photos check out the full report on The Bohemian Blog: Dead Satellites: Exploring Abandoned USSR Radar Sites