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Dnepr space programme fate to be decided in month’s time

September 26, 2012, 23:56 UTC+3

The Dnepr carrier rocket was made by converting the world's most powerful RS-20 (SS-18 Satan by Western classification) intercontinental ballistic missile

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MOSCOW, September 26 (Itar-Tass) —— The decision on the Dnepr space programme has been postponed at least for a month, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.

“If we do not get any documents [from Ukraine] that will allow us to assess the input and act pragmatically within the framework of this partnership, we will propose our own version,” Rogozin said on Wednesday, September 26.

“This will take more time, about a month,” he added.

The Dnepr conversion programme, initiated by the presidents of Russia and Ukraine in the 1990s, calls for using RS-20 ICBMs removed from combat duty for launching spacecraft.

Rogozin held a separate meeting in the programme earlier in the day. He admitted that the discussion on the issue had been on with Ukrainian partners “for a long time” and recalled a meeting of the presidents of the two countries in Yalta in July, where they instructed their governments to “calculate the real cost” of the programme.

“Up to date we believe that the distribution of input of the three parties and the benefits to be received by each of them is opaque,” Rogozin said.

None of the previous deadlines for the submission of required documents was met. “September is drawing to an end but we have not received any documents from Ukraine in the requested form so far,” he said.

Rogozin discussed the matter with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who will make a working visit to Yalta on Friday, September 28, and informed him about the conclusions regarding the Dnepr progranmme.

“I think the Russian prime minister will continue the discussion with Ukrainian partners. But on the whole we do not see any substance behind the words and promises made by the Ukrainian colleagues,” Rogozin said.

The Dnepr carrier rocket was made by converting the world's most powerful RS-20 (SS-18 Satan by Western classification) intercontinental ballistic missile. With a lift-off mass of 211 million, the rocket is reputed for its reliable performance and inexpensiveness when delivering a payload of up to 3.5 tonnes to orbit.

Dnepr can also be used for launches of spacecraft with boosters to high elliptical orbits and departure trajectories to the Moon.

Dnepr rockets are marketed worldwide by the company Cosmotrans that includes enterprises and organisations from Russia and Ukraine that created the RS-20 ICBM. The company is a joint venture of Russian and Ukrainian designers and producers of the Dnepr rocket. In all, the company has performed twelve successful launches and placed 51 satellites in orbit. It is possible to launch the rocket from three silos in Baikonur. There is also a Dnepr silo at the Yasny base in the Orenburg region.

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