Home Space Russia is Developing “Start-1M” light Space Launch Vehicle from Refurbished Topol-M ICBMs

Russia is Developing “Start-1M” light Space Launch Vehicle from Refurbished Topol-M ICBMs

The Moscow Institute of Thermal Engineering (MIT), which is affiliated with Roscosmos, is building the light-class conversion launch vehicle “Start-1M” using the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) “Topol-M,” according to a Russian rocket and space industry source.

According to TASS, MIT is developing the “Start-1M” launch vehicle, which will be deployed from a mobile launcher and is modeled after the ICBM “Topol-M.”

A source from the agency claims that the “Start-1M” is undergoing development with no substantial modifications to its design. However, it will be modified correspondingly to follow a different launch trajectory than the “Start-1” rocket, which was designed based on the “Topol” intercontinental ballistic missile.

“Start-1” is a launch vehicle powered by light solid propellant. In addition to the 47 tons of launch mass, the payload mass delivered to low Earth orbit exceeds 500 kilograms.

Space Launch Vehicle Smart-1M based on Topol ICBM
The model of the “Start-1M” carrier rocket (on the left) © Ekaterina Moskvich / TASS

Svobodny cosmodrome, presently adjacent to Vostochny cosmodrome, was the launch site of the “Start-1” rocket that carried the military communication satellite “Zeya” into outer space in March 1997. The rocket from Svobodny deployed the Earth remote sensing satellite Eros in December 2000. A multitude of additional launches of the “Start” and “Start-1” rockets transpired from Plesetsk and Svobodny between 1993 and 2006.

Beyond 2024, the Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN) will discontinue use of the RS-12M Topol solid-fuel monoblock intercontinental ballistic missile, according to a source within the military-industrial complex. In lieu of the antiquated Topol ICBMs, the Yars ICBM, which is equipped with multiple warheads, is being deployed.

At the “Sphere” Congress of this year, the Start-1M conversion launch vehicle model made its introduction.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Denis Manturov informed the press on April 15 that the initial launch of the “Start-1M” modified super-lightweight carrier rocket is slated for 2026.

Russian road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missile Topol-M is capable of transporting a solitary 800-kiloton nuclear warhead. Its purpose is to evade anti-ballistic missile systems and it possesses an estimated range of 11,000 kilometers. In 1999, ten missile divisions of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces were reportedly equipped with 360 Topol complex launchers, according to available sources.



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