Antennas of the Pluton deep-space communications complex near Yevpatoria on the Crimean Peninsula circa 1980.

In 1956 on this date, the Soviet Union established its first space and ballistic missile tracking network. Later developing into their KIK satellite-tracking system, the installation was staffed by 680 officers and 151 civilian scientists. For an extensive overview of the entire Russian space program, visit the Astronautix website here.