The Girl That Snuck Into a Russian Rocket Factory

The internet is quickly becoming smitten with a young photographer/urban explorer who broke into an unguarded rocket facility in Russia. Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo writes:

Her name is Lana Sator and she snuck into one of NPO Energomash factories outside of Moscow. Her photos are amazing, like sets straight out of Star Wars or Alien. Now the Russian government is harassing her.

It was easy to get in. She just went there, jumped over the fence and got right into the heart of the complex through a series of tunnels and pipes, which was very surprising. After all, this is an active industrial installation that belongs to one of the top manufacturers of liquid-fuel rockets in the world. Their engines power the modern Soyuz, the Zenit 3SL, and the Angara and Baikal launch vehicles. Heck, their RD-180 engine powers the first stage of the Atlas V, an American rocket. More importantly, they have specially strong ties to the Russian military.

And yet, she found nobody. No guards, no security. Nothing. Just a few CCTV cameras here and there in rooms packed with huge machinery.

While some of these zones look decrepit and abandoned, the factory is active. In fact, the government is really pissed off about Lana’s adventure. The authorities have sent her letters saying that her situation will get “much worse” if she keeps posting photos from the factory.

Large, beautiful photos from Lana’s adventure at the rocket factory, along with a scanned letter from the authorities warning her of the dire consequences, can be seen at her LJ.

[via Michael Doyle / Marina GalperinaFrumiousBandersnatch]

8 Responses to “The Girl That Snuck Into a Russian Rocket Factory”

  1. Meredith Yayanos Says:

    This is so incredible. What a badass.

  2. OrienMazi Says:

    Second he awe. Ditto on the badass. LJ is who we shall model the young!

  3. Ahnika Says:


  4. joasakura Says:

    wow, these are AMAZING.

  5. Linkstream! | Cosmic Outlaw Says:

    […] The girl that snuck into a Russian rocket factory is by far the best thing I’ve come across recently. These are all the pictures (the page is in Russian, but if you have Chrome or a Firefox extension, it’ll translate it for you, but if not, no worries the pictures speak for themselves) […]

  6. Svetlana Says:

    Those photos are simply stunning! Otherworldly and haunting… Brave people. What guts to go there and then to put the photos up on Live Journal.

  7. M.S. Patterson Says:

    I took the time to run most of her LJ post through google translate, and puzzle over the results. Assuming what was I read there was at least in the ballpark in terms of accuracy, it appears that her actions were carefully calculated to be legal.

    The law in Russia is apparently that for what she did to be trespassing, the company had to make an effort to keep her out. And there -was- a fence. But as it turns out, the fence was being upgraded, and the contractors had left large sections of the perimeter with no fence at all for several days.

    Allowing her and her friends to walk directly into the empty facility.
    Very clever on her part. The pictures are indeed amazing, and technically legal or not, it was still ballsy as hell.

  8. RCL Says:

    I’d like to correct some inaccuracies in the article.
    Firstly, that is not a factory, but a test stand facility for testing rocket engines (I guess factory would look much more mundane) – this is in fact written in the said LJ post.
    Secondly, the letter you mention (if there was such a letter) is not shown in the LJ post. What is present there is a photo of notice that Lana found on the fence. That notice is signed by Energomash administration and warns people who conduct construction works in the vicinity of the facility (in its so-called “alienation area”), claiming that any such works, if not approved by Energomash, are illegal.