Space: January 2, 2004


Last month, Russian firm NPO Mashinostroenie successfully launched a SS-19 ICBM (Russians call it the UR-100NU) carrying a dummy satellite in place of it's normal load of nuclear warheads. The Russian company apparently plans to use the "Strela" (as they call the SS-19 satellite launcher) to launch the Kondor-E, a proposed commercial radar satellite. Another Russian firm, Krunichev, is also planning on using SS-19s for satellite launches, using a different design for the third stage (which formerly carried warheads.) The Krunichev SS-19 is called "Rokot". The SS-19 was developed in the 1970s and some are still in service. But, according to disarmament treaties, several hundred are to be destroyed, or used for satellite launches. The SS-19 weighs 105 tons and has a payload of two tons. It is smaller than the SS-18, which is also still in service.


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