Monday, January 9, 2012

And the Rocket Woman Tiara Goes To...


A young Russian photographer named Lana Sator (Лана Сатор) and her friend Dmitrii Blinov (Дмитрий Блинов), for five consecutive nights in December 2011, waltzed right into a rocket factory near Moscow –- encountering few locked doors, and absolutely no guards.

Lana Sator
That's Lana. And that's a security camera. Useful, isn't it?

Together they took nearly a hundred photographs, which Lana published on her Live Journal. The result? A nasty gram from the Russian government, ordering her to delete them, and televised warnings to state-run facilities from Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin and Roskosmos Chief Vladimir Popovkin.

NPO Energomash
In case you ever wondered what Russian rocket engine factories look like

Lana responded by giving them a sweet middle cyber-finger, refusing to remove the photos from her blog, whereby she shall henceforth be known as the Sovereign Supreme Goddess of Badassery.

At the end of her picture display, she even THANKED the factory's security service for "their irresponsible approach to protection of the property". Brassy!

Cameras / Sensors
Yellow perimeter lights indicate the only working cameras/sensors

In one of her many photo captions, she says that on the first trip through the darkness of the Khimki Forest to enter the factory, she was scared, but enjoyed the thrill of fulfilling her dream by seeing the NPO complex, saying that such an unforgettable experience was one of the sensations that make life exciting.

Engine Test Stands
Energomash (Энергомаш) Test pipes for liquid fueled engines

Test stands consists of a static drum (fuel is supplied to where the engine is fastened), moving parts (the tube on wheels, which merges with the rim of the static part) and pipe exhaust (the closed red lid).

Exhaust Nozzles
Exhaust Nozzle Chorus

Since 1929, ENERGOMASH © Group Enterprises have created 60 different types of liquid rocket engines for space launch vehicles and military hardware, including the parts and stages for the Zenit, Angara, Proton and Soyuz.

Control Room
Ground Control to Major Absence of Guards

As the two intrepid photographers wove their way through many tunnels, floor levels, pipes for directing engine exhaust, and even a control room, they were able to freely navigate stairwells and elevators, none of which even required keys.

(Mind-blowing! Even the low-level software companies I've worked for in the past required magnetic badge access to every floor, and special card keys for elevators… heck, even for photocopy machines! Nevermind that this is a government installation… I've worked at private corporations that have better security for their supply closets!)

So... I wonder if I'm in line for a letter from the Russian government now? Good luck trying to find me. My own family can't manage that half the time...