Don’t ask — Just go look

Soviet Space Battle Station Skif and its prototype Polus


Defense Tech points out a MilitaryPhotos board with pictures of a mid-80s Soviet anti-ICBM orbiting laser-armed space station prototype. It was launched in 1987 on the USSR’s Energia super-booster but failed to remian in orbit. I had heard of this but had never seen pictures. Incredible.

The discussion on the board has some good stuff, too.


  1. One comment: The Soviets never finished the laser. What you see in the picture is the prototype of the platform the laser would have been mounted on/in. They were testing the platform, launcher, and associated technology (guidance, etc.) They never finished the laser to go in it. It also carried some other ‘scientific payloads’ in the remaining space (whatever that means). Probably they also wanted to scare us a little. Why else go through such an expensive launch without actually having any real anti-ICBM technology to test?

  2. RE: Previous Comment I’M KIDDING! Yes, this was not a finished system. It was a ‘prototype’ as I wrote. Still damn cool to see the pics, though. I had never seen them before.