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#13 - JRL 8483 - JRL Home
From: "Jim Oberg" <joberg@houston.rr.com>
Subject: Request for information on nuclear missiles
Date: Sat, 4 Dec 2004

A remarkable report at http://www.gazeta.ru/2004/12/01/oa_141290.shtml describes Russian plans to fire intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) from combat silos in Dombarovskiy Rayon in the southern Urals, first towards the Kamchatka Penninsula later this month, and eventually southwards into orbit around Earth for commercial customers. This will undoubtedly receive heightened diplomatic attention under current circumstances. The Ukraine-built missiles, the RS-20 (SS-18 'Satan'), will be decommissioned due to age in coming years, and 'destroyed' (per SALT) by launching them (this is allowed). But I'm unaware of any previous Soviet ICBM launchings out of active military silos (as opposed to test launches from ranges at Baykonur and Plesetsk). Nor have I seen any indications of attempts to seek commercial customers for the orbital launchings, as the article alleges. I would appreciate any insights from JRL readers into these activities and could share some raw data of my own.

James Oberg (www.jamesoberg.com), email to jameseoberg@houston.rr.com