Kapustin Yar was the Soviets first acknowledged missile test site. The site was previously an artillary range. First rocket test was on Oct. 18, 1947 and the initial program of 11 V-2 launches ended Nov. 13 the same year.
The base covers about 7000 square km. northeast of Volga river, 965 km. southeast Moscow (48.4° N 45.8° E). One observer described the region as low lying and often misty which did not help the condition of sensitive equipment. The location was also poor for secrecy since launches could be seem from boats on the Volga. The site was also poor for safety since the azimuth most advantagious for orbital launches passed close to population centers.
Most flights were sounding rocket missions up to 500 km altitude, mostly with scientific, biological and military payloads. Some small orbital missions were also launched. Orbital flights are launched into inclinations between 48.9° and 50.6°. 63 orbital missions total were launched until 1975, when most of the launch load moved to Plesetsk.
Anti-ballistic missile tests were also launched towards Sary Shagan, 2000 km. to the east. Military ballistic missile tests made up a large amount of the projects at the range. Kasputin Yar compares well to Wallops Island and White Sands missile ranges in the US.
The harsh life at the range is chronicled well in the book "Roads to Space", ISBN 0-07-607095-6, McGraw-Hill Publishers, 1995.