The Return of Satan: Roscosmos Eyes SS-18 Missiles as Satellite Launchers Again

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said the state space corporation is once again eyeing the use of converted SS-18 Satan (aka, R-36M2 Voyevoda) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) for small satellite launches, TASS reports.

“The matter is now being discussed, first of all with the Defense Ministry, because they are the number one here,” Rogozin said on Saturday, answering to a question about the possibility of converting Voyevoda ICBMs.

He said it would be “wrong to simply scrap” this “beautiful, legendary ICBM.”

“We could easily refit it for projects related to putting small spacecraft to civilian orbits. The matter is being discussed. This tactics should be applied to all combat missiles when they are being removed from combat duty, including Sarmat,” he said.


Brazil Abandons Troubled Cyclone-4 Program

Cyclone 4 first and second stages. (Credit: Alcantara Space)
Cyclone 4 first and second stages. (Credit: Alcantara Space)

It looks like the rumors I reported last month are true. Brazil has decided to pull out of its joint program with Ukraine to launch satellites aboard Cyclone-4 boosters from the Alcantara Launch Center.

“It is an accumulation of issues,” said Petronio Noronha de Souza, AEB’s director of space policy and strategic investments. “There have been challenges on the budget issues, on the technological aspects, in the relationship between Brazil and Ukraine and in the actual market for export that would be available. So it is a combination of things.”

In an April 14 interview at the Latin America Aero and Defense, or LAAD, show here, Noronha de Souza said a formal government announcement, likely from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on the program’s stoppage was imminent.


ISC Kosmotras: Reports of Dnepr’s Death Greatly Exaggerated

Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)
Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)

MOSCOW (ISC Kosmotras PR) — This is to inform our current and potential customers that publications in the Russian press in February 2015 about the Dnepr Program suspension are not reflecting the reality. All ISC Kosmotras activities are on track to fulfill our contractual obligations.

ISC Kosmotras recognizes that such publications have caused many concerns and confusion but were unfortunately out of our control. We can only apologize for that.

Dnepr Launch Manifest for 2016-2017

1st half of 2016: Dedicated launch of a group of satellites

2nd half of 2016: Cluster launch of a group of satellites

1st half of 2017: Cluster launch of a group of satellites

5 August 2017: Dedicated launch of 2 GRACE Follow-On satellites

2nd half of 2017 – 1st half of 2018: Dedicated launch of a group of satellites

Dnepr Launches 37 Satellites, Including 11 for Planet Labs

Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)
Dnepr launch vehicle. (Credit: ISC Kosmotras)

A Dnepr rocket launched a record 37 satellites into space today from the Yasny Launch Base in Russia, including 11 Dove 1c remote sensing spacecraft for the American start up company Planet Labs.

Company officials reported via Twitter that they had established contact with all 11 spacecraft on the first pass over the control center. ISC Kosmotras, the company that launches Denprs, said in a press release that all satellites were deployed into their intended orbits.

The rocket is a SS-18 ballistic missile converted into a satellite launcher with the support of Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh companies, which are part of the ISC Kosmotras industrial team.