Russia Taps Space Market With Decommissioned Missiles
Russia is hoping to increase sales in the international space market of the "Rokot", a lightweight, cost-efficient launcher based on the old Soviet intercontinental ballistic missile Stiletto (aka SS-19).
According to RIA Novista, Russia's Far East SpacePort at Plesetsk has seen five successful commercial launches, lofting thirteen satellites.
A single Rokot launch costs $12 million to $14 million, which is far less expensive than the launches of similar converted ICBMs.
While hundreds of Russian ballistic missiles will be cannibalized under international arms-reduction treaties, most of them are already nearing the scrap-only 15-20-year age.
The Rokot concept is marketed internationally by Eurorokot, a company partly owned by European aerospace firm EADS. Industry analysts say the Rokot has good prospects on the market until 2008, when Europe is expected to begin selling its new light rocket, the Vega.
Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed by United Press International