The Russian Defense Ministry does not think it expedient to carry on the Dnepr space program and will not assign a single RS-20 ‘Satan’ rocket for the program in 2011, an aerospace industry representative told Interfax-AVN on Thursday.
“Ten test and training launches of RS-12M ‘Topol’, RS-18 and RS-24 ‘Yars’ intercontinental ballistic missiles are planned for 2011. Meanwhile, there will be no RS-20 launches, including those in the Dnepr program,” he said.
He said the Defense Ministry called inefficient the disposal of RS-20B missiles in space launches. “It is much easer to scrap the missiles,” he said.
Earlier reports said that four Dnepr rockets would be launched from a launch site of the Dombarovskaya division of the Strategic Rocket Forces in the Orenburg region. A cluster launch of eight satellites, including Ukraine’s Sych 2 and BPA-2, Nigeria’s NigeriaSat-X and NigeriaSat-2, Turkey’s Rasat, U.S. AprizeSat-5 and AprizeSat-6 and Italy’s EduSat, was planned for the first quarter of 2011.
It was planned to launch the South Korean radar satellite KompSat5 in June-July. Two Dnepr launches were scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2011, including one to deliver the Mikhailo Lomonosov satellite and the cluster launch of several satellites, among them South Korean STSAT-3.
Cosmotrans international space company General Director Vladimir Andreyev told Interfax-AVN in September 2010 that the company hoped to use RS-20 missiles in the Dnepr space program until 2027. He said about 70 rockets would be launched.
The Russian-Ukrainian rocket Dnepr was based on the world’s most powerful delivery vehicle, RS-20 (NATO codename SS-18 ‘Satan’), with high thrust and reliability characteristics. The rocket weighs 211 tonnes, has the diameter of three meters and the length of 34.6 meters.
Sixteen Dnepr launches have been made since April 199, including twelve from Baikonur and four from the Orenburg region.