Re: Surplus launch vehicles

From: Michael M. Butler (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 00:23:04 MDT

See also the RS-20 (aka SS-18 'Satan', to Nato/Jane's) Dnepr project.
Russia is always looking for things to trade for hard currency, and
they've done at least one orbit of about 320 kg with this booster.
Launching them turns out to be cheaper than destroying them some other
ways, or so I'm told. One of the tough things is leasing "thumpdown"
rights for the first stage.

> Oooops, I guess I coulda read your whole post before starting to
> babble. Minuteman you say? Thats a whole nuther story.
> Jeff, Im beginning to see where you are going, and no, I dont think
> there is gonna be huuuge savings in using decommissioned military
> hardware for space access. Doug might jump in here, but I think
> that the war stuff is too highly specialized for high reliability and other
> design goals to be very good at heavy lift. The armed forces might
> use some of their own decommissioned missiles for payload lift,
> but I doubt they will sell it at bargain prices.
> > What do they do with these things, anyway, when they decommission them as
> > part of whatever arms control/disarmament agreement requires it? Anyone
> > know FOR SURE? Destroy them, would be my guess. But perhaps they're just
> > no good for "peaceful" purposes. Doug, spike? Anyone?
> Ja, they destroy them in a very public way. They serve their purpose
> creating tears of joy in the hearts of peaceloving people everywhere,
> including me. I cant tell you how pleased I am that these death machines
> were never used, and good chance now they never will be.
> Recall the first manned space boosters were converted military
> hardware.
> A few of the motors are used for ground test purposes, and of
> course they have flight tests often. The FBM system has had
> 89 consecutive flawless firings, last I heard, and some of this
> hardware is getting up there in years now. Shows to go ya, the
> stuff was designed right to start with.
> > I won't embellish my question any further because you can see where I'm
> > going. I mean it isn't exactly rocket sci...well, er,... I guess,
> > actually, it is.
> Jeff keep an eye out for that guy from Kennewick Washington.
> He is using Commie boosters with a recoverable first stage, from
> the sea. Sounds to me like the front runner for doing what
> you describe: low cost access to space. Kistler Engineering I
> think its called, and Doug, this would be a great place to plug
> your company. spike

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