The Southern Machine-Building Factory “ Yuzhmash”. In the 1940s, a non-remarkable automobile factory was built in Dnipropetrovsk (today known as Dnipro) that produced trucks and agriculture machinery. It apparently would have remained this way, if not for the initiative of an enthusiast in the design department, who developed modifications for the first major Soviet ballistic missile R-1. Experimental design department OKB-586 was set up at the factory to develop a new rocket, headed by the outstanding designer Mikhail Yangel.
Mass production of operational missiles started in 1951, and six years later, the OKB began working on creating satellite launch vehicles. The first satellite for military use, Dnipropetrovsk Sputnik-2 (DS-2), was launched into orbit using a 63C1 missile designed by the department. Subsequently renamed the Southern Machine-Building Factory (“ Yuzhmash”), the facility became vital to the Soviet Union’s military and space industries. Nevertheless, it still maintained its original purpose: producing civilian machinery. In 1978, its one millionth tractor rolled off the assembly line. In the late 1980s, Yuzhmash began producing wind-power installations; and between 1993 and 2008, one thousand trolleybuses left the factory.
Today, Yuzhmash is one of the most important factories, not only in Ukraine but in the global space industry. It produces a wide range of high-tech equipment: launch vehicles (the Zenit-3, Dnepr, Cyclone-4, etc.), spacecraft, rocket engines, and other unique items. In 1999, for example, a Zenit-3SL was launched from an offshore platform for the first time in history. Yuzhmash-produced missile was used to put an American satellite into orbit.
This article was published in the book Interesting Ukraine.
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© Sky Horse Publishing House (Kyiv) / Nahs Haus, 2019
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