Extraordinary Photos From Inside Russia’s Energomash Rocket Plant

Exterior view of Energomash engine test facility. (Credit: Lana Sator)

Russian blogger Lana Sator has posted an album of extraordinary photos  taken inside of the Energomash rocket plant in Moscow — shots she took during five secret, nocturnal visits to the facility with her friends over several months. She says that they sneaked in through a gap in the fence and encountered not a single security guard as they wandered through the plant at will.

Interior shot of Energomash facility. (Credit: Lana Sator)

The multiple security breaches of the highly sensitive facility have startled and angered Russian officials, especially newly appointed space czar Dmitry Rogozin. The Deputy Prime Minister promised harsh measures to punish the “sleep cats” in charge of Energomash’s security and warned bloggers, who he called “cheeky mice,” to never again “penetrate strategic installations.”

Energomash test facility. (Credit: Lana Sator)

Russian media cited a senior space agency official, speaking anonymously, who described the breach as a shock of the same scale as German pilot Mathias Rust’s brazen Cessna flight under Soviet radar to land on Red Square in 1987.

Lana Sator in the Energomash plant. (Credit: Lana Sator)

“It showed a complete inability to protect anything whatsoever,” one anonymous senior space agency official told Izvestia. The official compared the break to the shock of when German pilot Mathias Rust evaded Soviet radar and landing his Cessna on Red Square in 1987. A vice president of Energia, which operates the facility, said the company lacked funding to fix the fence.

The security breach ended a tough 13 months for the Russian space program, which experienced seven launch failures that left eight satellites either destroyed or stranded in useless orbits. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appointed Rogozin to clean up the failure-plagued space program and corruption riddled defense sector.

These images were reproduced with permission. View the full gallery of photos at a higher resolution here.