Factory Jupiter in the ghost town of Pripyat is one of the most mysterious places in the Chernobyl zone. What it really was, and was it was in fact producing is still a mystery inside an enigma. Let’s take a look closer.
As Mr. Esaulov, deputy mayor of Pripyat in 1986, once told me, the factory was built at the request of the Pripyat residents: before, there were 2 enterprises only (ChNPP and Building Management Department), and both needed men as workers basically. So women were lacking job places, and thus, in 1979, they organized a protest demanding paying more attention to their needs as well. So, Ministry of Energy initiated the Jupiter factory.
It was subject to the famous “Mayak”, which had a number of subsidiary plants in many parts of the Soviet Union of Socialist Republics. It was employing many women since they are believed to have a better developed fine motor skills of hands, so would do better work like small parts for tape recorders and other similar equipment. This job was well-paid too – they were getting 4-5 times bigger salaries than average on that time (about 400-500 rubles).
The factory is huge and by its territory, and comprises almost one district. The scale of the territory, as well as the concrete wall with barbed wire and alarm system all around the factory and at its checkpoint looked suspiciously as for the official purpose of the enterprise.
The territory of the plant consisted of three complexes: administrative, productive and utility one (subsidiary). The administrative complex consisted of a few were very long buildings – offices. Also the roofs of these buildings were equipped with special antennas with satellites for the plant work procedures, and the check-point.
Complex of production structurally looks like a square shape workshop. This square box was divided into few smaller workshops each performing different work.
The utility complex was designed to support the proper work conditions, it included canteen. It was also the highest of all buildings of the Jupiter factory.
There are two versions of what Jupiter was producing. The first and the official version is that Jupiter factory produced various small parts for tape recorders and other similar equipment. Among them, the most popular was the tape drive mechanism. Also, according to some sources, the plant produced equipment sets for repairing soviet TVs. Though some former workers say that only one of the many departments was involved in this production, while the rest worked on something different.
At the same time, the second version says of the following: production of “black boxes”, military computers, including such units as the flight recorders which were intended for strategic military and space techniques.
The secret devices were dubbed briefly and clearly – “product number ….», To those whom this information does not apply, have not been able to learn about the purpose of the product, and those who needed it, understood that the good’s for them. There is another version, on which Jupiter also manufactured psychotronic equipment. But this assumption has not yet been proved.
In addition, the factory was believed to produce parts for intercontinental nuclear missiles with the help of plutonium that was produced as a by-product at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.
Today, probably no one can confirm whether it was true or just a myth, and mystery of the place and its history attracts more and more visitors, including illegal ones. The last ones especially love going to the basement – there is still located a big black box behind the gate which emits huge amounts of radiation. The purpose of the box and its content is still unclear.
During the liquidation of the accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Jupiter factory stopped its work. Later, it became the head-quarter of SPETSATOM ( СПЕЦАТОМ) enterprise. Various branches of the company were based in the cellars and workshops of the factory. Some areas were developing different techniques which was necessary for liquidation of the accident, and many details of the “Shelter” object were designed there. In other parts different dosimetry laboratories were working – they investigated different samples from the territory of Chernobyl Zone, and elaborating ideas how to decontaminate affected areas.
The factory was completely abandoned in 2002, and since then the only people visiting it are curious adventure lovers.