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So a Girl Sneaks Into a Russian Military Rocket Factory...
January 5, 2012 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Lana Sator sneaked into a Russian military rocket factory, found no guards, and started taking pictures. Some of them are pretty amazing. [source]
posted by quin (75 comments total) 54 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow.
posted by phaedon at 2:17 PM on January 5, 2012


Tomorrow on the blue: Lana Sator turns up dead.
posted by asnider at 2:17 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hah, that last one totally reminds me of Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times.
posted by not_on_display at 2:18 PM on January 5, 2012


Next week: Where did all those Russian rockets go?
posted by 2bucksplus at 2:18 PM on January 5, 2012


I'd wager large sums that while the photos are cool, what she did is very very illegal, and not just in some slight technical sense. (if true) Badass she may be, but an imprisoned badass she also soon may be.
posted by edgeways at 2:20 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pics 1 and 2 make me think that this place was the inspiration for City 17.

Freaking awesome.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:22 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Looking at those pictures, I kept thinking a lot about HL.
posted by FriscoBowie at 2:24 PM on January 5, 2012


So that's where Moriarty's new factory is.

(No, not that ACD adaptation. The other recent ACD adaptation which decided to randomly link Adler and Moriarty.)
posted by kmz at 2:25 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This sounds a bit familiar.
posted by HuronBob at 2:25 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Hope it wasn't radioactively empty.
posted by uraniumwilly at 2:26 PM on January 5, 2012


She found a guard, but he was like "I SAID COME IN, DON'T JUST STAND THERE"
posted by hellojed at 2:28 PM on January 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


Wow, this is petty cool.

Also, I can't believe this girl posted her name and posed in the photos. Its not like the Russian Government haven't assassinated people for less. Even if they don't just drag her into a van, take her out to the woods and shoot her in the head, there are doubtless many espionage charges that could be leveled against her. She could spend the rest of her life in prison.

Seriously, it would have been just as cool if she wasn't in the photos, and if we only knew her as 'Russian Girl'. What was she thinking?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:28 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


HuronBob: This sounds a bit familiar.

I that because there might be more poetry in this story then reality?
posted by filthy light thief at 2:30 PM on January 5, 2012


As it happens I do need photo refs for spooky Sov type junk, yes, thank you very much...
posted by Artw at 2:32 PM on January 5, 2012


CIA opens investigation into egg on its face. Clearance level Yankee White or above.
posted by Think_Long at 2:32 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


These look like screengrabs from Half Life 3.

I believe!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:33 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK then, guess I wasn't the only one!
posted by Salvor Hardin at 2:33 PM on January 5, 2012


His thoughts were red thoughts - My thoughts exactly. The photos are incredibly cool and I appreciate that we are able to see them, but I really don't understand what she was thinking when she decided to pose in the photos and attach what appears to be her real name to them.
posted by asnider at 2:35 PM on January 5, 2012


That brown looking smoke seperating from the regular smoke really doesn't look all that healthy...
posted by Artw at 2:35 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


So now that we've decommissioned the Space Shuttle, when American astronauts need to get to or from the Space Station, they're doing so on a rocket built in this decrepit plant. Is that right?
posted by adamrice at 2:36 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'd take the main lesson of Alexander Litvinenko to be "don't be a political opponent of Vladmir Putin, who really is a nasty peice of work" rather than an example of the deadly efficiency of the Russian counter-espionage services, TBH.
posted by Artw at 2:37 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


These are fascinating photos (and thanks for posting them). If I was the Russian government, I'd be worried not about secrets, but about showing the rest of the world how your military industrial complex looks like an abandoned scrapyard.
posted by carter at 2:37 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Its not like the Russian Government haven't assassinated people for less.

Litvinenko wasn't for less at all. He is ex-FSB, and wrote books stating that the apartment bombings were part of a FSB governmental takeover, accused the FSB of being behind various hits, and said he was going to reveal more. He was killed for being a trator (and, one suspects, the message to Berezovsky didn't hurt).

How is that less than glorified tourist snaps?
posted by jaduncan at 2:37 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


So now that we've decommissioned the Space Shuttle, when American astronauts need to get to or from the Space Station, they're doing so on a rocket built in this decrepit plant. Is that right?

Heh. If you've been riding on a safety nightmare like the Shuttle something safe and reliable like the Soyuz must be a bit of a relief.
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


Litvinenko wasn't for less at all.

A fair point - I should have said "It's not like the Russian Government haven't assassinated people before".
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:40 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


CIA opens investigation into egg on its face. Clearance level Yankee White or above.

Yankee White is only for persons who are to spend significant time in the presence of the President.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:41 PM on January 5, 2012


Cool pictures - but yeah, this will end badly unfortunately.
posted by chundo at 2:41 PM on January 5, 2012


I love this photo... it really is like something out of Alien.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:42 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


So now that we've decommissioned the Space Shuttle ...

Percentage of fatal spaceflights
About two percent of the manned launch/reentry attempts have killed their crew, with Soyuz and the Shuttle having almost the same death percentage rates. [snip] Soyuz accidents have claimed the lives of four cosmonauts. No deaths have occurred on Soyuz missions since 1971, and none with the current design of the Soyuz.
posted by pracowity at 2:42 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


carter: your military industrial complex looks like an abandoned scrapyard

That's assuming this isn't a military scrap yard. If this was a functioning facility, there would be more than guards - there would be people actually working on something.

Claiming she snuck into a rocket factory is a lot more exciting than saying she crawled through the gate of an abandoned industrial facility. Abandoned military towns and abandoned military units have been photographed elsewhere in Russia. There are enough of them that there's even a list of "abandoned wonders". A list means there are more than just a few, and calling them "wonders" probably means there are less impressive abandoned places/things.
posted by filthy light thief at 2:44 PM on January 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


That looks like an abandoned factory, not a currently active one. I doubt she'll get in too much trouble.
posted by empath at 2:44 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm torn between awe and GET OUT GET OUT GET OUT OF THERE OUTOUTOUTOUTOUT
posted by argonauta at 2:46 PM on January 5, 2012


Can anyone read the threatening letter sent to her by the Government? (At least, that's what I think it's supposed to be).
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:48 PM on January 5, 2012


That looks like an abandoned factory, not a currently active one. I doubt she'll get in too much trouble.

If the Gizmodo article in the FPP is to be believed, it is still an active factory, despite the appearance of being abandoned.
posted by asnider at 2:49 PM on January 5, 2012


Oh, her LJ says she was fined 20.17 and not charged with anything. That's good.
posted by chundo at 2:51 PM on January 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's assuming this isn't a military scrap yard

Hah, Occam's Razor. Thanks!
posted by carter at 2:52 PM on January 5, 2012




It took me a minute to figure out how to navigate to the livejournal page with all of the photographs, so I figured I would post a direct link here in case anyone else had similar difficulty.
posted by Antidisestablishmentarianist at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2012


For some extra entertainment, check out the vertigo-inducing pictures of the ultramassive Duga antenna, which during the Cold War years was notorious for going up and down the shortwave spectrum with random tapping noises (I remember hearing it all the time in the US).
posted by crapmatic at 2:55 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Oh, her LJ says she was fined 20.17 and not charged with anything. That's good.

Hooray! I am, for once, happy to be wrong.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:59 PM on January 5, 2012


Google translate to the rescue

So it seems she got a warning not to do that again and that they were watching her.
posted by empath at 3:00 PM on January 5, 2012


Oh, her LJ says she was fined 20.17 and not charged with anything. That's good.

Even if she was only fined with trespassing, that seems like an exceedingly small fine. I mean, I don't think she's lying. I assume that it is the truth. It just seems so inconsequential considering that she was apparently interviewed by the FSB.
posted by asnider at 3:02 PM on January 5, 2012


There also this cool photoset she took of an abandoned aircraft factory.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:03 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Because, as flt suggested, it's probably not an active missile factory. Really. Come on. The Russians make good stuff, and you need clean-ish modern facilities for that. There is no Soyuz booster production line here.
posted by zomg at 3:05 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lovecraftian nightmare chair
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


chundo: Oh, her LJ says she was fined 20.17 and not charged with anything. That's good.

According to Google Translate, she was fined 300 Rubles per person, which is about $9.43. "20.17" is the article number under which she was punished. So, even better! :)
posted by isnotchicago at 3:10 PM on January 5, 2012


There also this cool photoset she took of an abandoned aircraft factory.

And kittens!
posted by dibblda at 3:13 PM on January 5, 2012


I don't know, Russians seem to be good at making stuff that works quite well but looks like a pile of garbage.

Just ask the Nazis. Except you can't, because they all died because of a pile of garbage called the T-34.
posted by Ritchie at 3:14 PM on January 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I used to cut through an abandoned open hearth foundry that was about the size of two football fields every night on my way to lunch. It was in the middle of an active Steel Mill, but was made redundant by a basic oxygen furnace about the time I was born and probably shut down while I was in grade school. It looked a lot like this, but the active parts of a steel mill looked a lot like this too.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 3:16 PM on January 5, 2012


Another photoset of an abandoned air raid shelter with interesting Soviet propaganda materials and obligatory self-portrait.
posted by KokuRyu at 3:34 PM on January 5, 2012


There also this cool photoset she took of an abandoned aircraft factory.

I'm quite confident I could find a use for a spare IL-96-300.

Aperture Science, 1970's version.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:37 PM on January 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There also this cool photoset she took of an abandoned aircraft factory.

Less decrepid, but the big room at Boeing up in Everett does not actually look all that different from that.
posted by Artw at 3:40 PM on January 5, 2012


The NPO Energomash site is pretty interesting, with some cool graphics of engines.

However, I wonder what this means (this is not taken from Google Translate btw):


"No engine – and any most perfect design of rocket with all its filling (components) is dead."
posted by KokuRyu at 3:41 PM on January 5, 2012


It means that the rockets are actually empty shells and are actually propelled by alien technology taken from crashed UFOs.
posted by Artw at 3:49 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pics 1 and 2 make me think that this place was the inspiration for City 17.

That, or Gears of War.
posted by indubitable at 4:10 PM on January 5, 2012


Not monochromatic enough.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on January 5, 2012


Just making some wild assumptions here, but I am going to put out there that the russian military-industrial complex and the people responsible for the security of the relevant facilities know substantially more about producing reliable rocket engines than anyone that has commented on this thread.
posted by wilful at 5:09 PM on January 5, 2012


Russians seem to be good at making stuff that works quite well but looks like a pile of garbage.

And with garbage. It is almost like magic, maybe it is their innate national power - take a pile of slag, throw some wrenches and welders at it, hit it with a sledgehammer a few times - voila, a sturdy machine is here! They get an extra decimal place on tolerances or something.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:17 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Pics 1 and 2 make me think that this place was the inspiration for City 17.

That, or Gears of War.

Or Syberia, the first game. I'm waiting for an automaton to lurch into view, or a doomed cosmonaut.
posted by doctornemo at 8:28 PM on January 5, 2012


Just making some wild assumptions here, but I am going to put out there that the russian military-industrial complex and the people responsible for the security of the relevant facilities know substantially more about producing reliable rocket engines than anyone that has commented on this thread.

How dare you challenge my casual assumptions about Russian missile security!
posted by asnider at 8:33 PM on January 5, 2012


How dare you challenge my casual assumptions about Russian missile security!

Considering the fact that our casual assumptions about Russia as a whole are probably way more awesome than the reality, I think that's a perfectly acceptable sentiment.
posted by Toby Dammit X at 8:59 PM on January 5, 2012


I kept expecting to see the Ood walk around the corner.
posted by arcticseal at 9:10 PM on January 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Salvor Hardin: These look like screengrabs from Half Life 3.
...
adamrice: So now that we've decommissioned the Space Shuttle, when American astronauts need to get to or from the Space Station, they're doing so on a rocket built in this decrepit plant. Is that right?

Actually, the same guy will probably make both of these things possible...
posted by FreelanceBureaucrat at 10:49 PM on January 5, 2012


It's not a rocket factory. It is a testing facility for rocket motors. Not so astonishing that it looks a litte bit worn, as a lot of hot gas has been blow in already. The "letter" is not a threat by the government, but a note at the fence of the facility concerning some damage inflicted to this fence by unknown people (definitely not the photographer). It is meant to be very serious (probably) and comes out outrightly funny. The photographer has not been harassed by the authorities afterwards. She calls the miliziamen (now called policemen officially) investigating the case explicitly "lovely", and obviously means it such. Great story, liked it a lot. Thanks.
posted by megob at 10:57 PM on January 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Here are some official pictures from the facility on the website of "Energomash", where the original story has been photographed. (Except the first the ones - these are from a facility in the USA. The rest ist from the Moscow plant.)
posted by megob at 11:19 PM on January 5, 2012


You guys have been had, these are clearly just the leaked art assets for S.T.A.L.K.E.R 2.
posted by Pyrogenesis at 12:15 AM on January 6, 2012


Can anyone read the threatening letter sent to her by the Government?
Actually, it's a note posted to the fence around the factory. It reads, more or less: "We are important factory. Do not trespass our breached fence while we are getting around to fixing it. YOU ARE BREAKING THE LAW AND WILL BE PROSECUTED, eventually."
posted by hat_eater at 2:43 AM on January 6, 2012


Or more precisely, what megob wrote above.
posted by hat_eater at 2:54 AM on January 6, 2012


I'll be impressed when I see a space monkey.
posted by stormpooper at 6:17 AM on January 6, 2012


Somewhere there's got to be a Yakoff Smirnoff joke.

In America, you can always find a party. In Russia, Party finds you! What a Country!
posted by stormpooper at 6:30 AM on January 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So now that we've decommissioned the Space Shuttle, when American astronauts need to get to or from the Space Station, they're doing so on a rocket built in this decrepit plant. Is that right?

Heh. If you've been riding on a safety nightmare like the Shuttle something safe and reliable like the Soyuz must be a bit of a relief.
posted by Artw at 5:38 PM on January 5 [5 favorites +] [!]


Do the maths. Not so much the Shuttle, but the managers over-riding the engineers. Now where have I heard that before...One Shuttle blown up because of management ignored the engineers. One Shuttle damaged on lift-off and destroyed on reentry because even though they were aware of possible damage before re-entry, management refused requests for hi res satellite images deeming a possible foam hit an acceptable risk. ( Shuttle Atlantis could have been prepped and launched a rescue mission in plenty of time).

Meanwhile The Russians leave sites unguarded.
posted by Gungho at 6:35 AM on January 6, 2012


Get out of here Stalker!
posted by utsutsu at 7:00 AM on January 6, 2012


This reminds me of similar photoset which made the intertron rounds a few years ago - only this time, a submarine base which also looked like jarringly realistic Half-Life 3 screenshots. I sense a theme here.
posted by phong3d at 11:39 AM on January 6, 2012


I wish I had posted the photos I took of the Soviet torpedo test facility we stumbled into on Issyk Kul. Lost forever now.
posted by Meatbomb at 12:26 PM on January 6, 2012


Meatbomb, check under the cushions in the couch, that's where I find most things.
posted by arcticseal at 5:25 PM on January 6, 2012


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