Report USSR Army legacy - Secret Spy Telescopes & Town "Zvyozdochka" in Filmmaking / Cinematography Posted November 20 Located in woodlands near Irbene, in Ventspils Municipality, Latvia, the center was founded in 1974 by the Soviet military. It originally consisted of a 32-metre telescope, along with two smaller telescopes and a communications center, and was known as Zvyozdochka, meaning "Little Star". It was used by the KGB during the Cold War to spy on communications between Europe and the United States. It became a scientific research facility in the 1990s, established on 22 July 1994 as part of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, before becoming an independent organisation on 24 April 1996. It is now known as the Ventspils International Radioastronomy Center or the Irbene Astronomy Center.