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by Jean-Jacques Serra
The development of powder ballistic missiles started in 1958 in Russia. It was carried out by a division created by Korolev (today NPO Soyouz) directed by I. Sadovsky and after 1966 by A.D. Nadiradze. The first ICBM was the 3-stage RS-12 (SS-13 Savage) with metallic structure. Only 60 items were produced. Two mobile missiles were then derived from it: the SS-14 which used the 2 upper stages of the SS-13 and the SS-15 which refurbished the first and third stage.

In the seventies the RS-14 ICBM (SS-16 Sinner) was a much improved version of the RS-12, especially for the reeled structure and the guidance. This ICBM was not deployed following the SALT agreements. The RSD-10 IRBM (SS-20 Sabre) produced to replace the aging SS-4 and SS-5 were deployed (up to 378 operational) before being retrieved with the INF agreements.

Origin: Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) of fith generation

At the beginning of the eighties the NPO Soyouz designed a new mobile ICBM named RS-12M Topol (SS-25 Sickle) to replace old launching silos. This fith generation missile which was operational in 1985 is the biggest mobile strategic missile of the CIS. According to the Russians the SS-25 is derived from the SS-13. With 3 stages it is 18.5 m long, 1.8 m diameter and weighs about 40 tons. It can send a 1 ton payload to more than 10000 km.

The Start launcher

The first version Start 1 is a 4-stage launcher which 3 first stages are derived from the SS-25. it is 22.7 m high, weighs 47 tons at takeoff and can deliver 300 kg on polar orbit ot 500 kg in equatorial orbit. It was tested only once in March 1993.

The Start offered for commercial flights has an additional stage: an improved version of SS-20's second stage is inserted between the first and second stage. The whole is then 29 m high and 60 tons. It can put 450 kg in polar orbit. It's first launch in March 1995 failed. An agreement with Akjuit Aerospace (Canada) was signed to launch vehicles from SpacePort Canada from late 1998.

The Svobodny launch site will be closed down in 2007.

Marketed by MITT.

Start launches

# Launch id Payload Launch date Type Status (orbit in perigee x apogee x inc. x period)
1 93014 Start 1 25 Mar 1993 4-stage launched from Plesetsk
2 FTO Techsat 1
Unamsat 1
28 Mar 1995 5-stage Failure cause: 5th stage failed
launched from Plesetsk
3 97010 Zeya 4 Mar 1997 at 2:00 UT 4-stage  
4 97085 Early Bird 24 Dec 1997 at 13:32 UT    
5 00079 Eros 1A 5 Dec 2000 at 12:30 UT    
6 01007 Odin 20 Feb 2001 at 08:48 UT    
7 06014 Eros B1 25 Apr 2006 at 16:47 UT    
All launches from Svobodny (51.2 N 128.0 E) unless otherwise stated

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