YEKATERINBURG, February 11. /TASS/. Russian scientists have developed a project of upgrading intercontinental ballistic missiles to destroy near-Earth meteorites 20-50 meters in size, leading researcher of the Makeyev Rocket Design Bureau Sabit Saitgarayev told TASS on Thursday.
The scientists would like to test the improved missiles’ capabilities against the asteroid Apophis expected to come dangerously close to the Earth in 2036, the scientist said.
"Most rockets work on boiling fuel. Their fueling begins 10 days before the launch and, therefore, they are unfit for destroying meteorites similar to the Chelyabinsk meteorite in diameter, which are detected several hours before coming close to the Earth. For this purpose, intercontinental ballistic missiles can be used, which requires their upgrade," the scientist said.
The improved missiles could be used as the killers of the Apophis asteroid, "which will come dangerously close to the Earth in 2036," he added.
Several million US dollars and the authorities’ permission are required to modernize ICBMs, the scientist said, without specifying, however, whether the required funds and the authorization for these works were available.
The scientist said design works in this area were already under way.
The Makeyev Design Bureau specializing in long-range rockets was established on December 16, 1947. The company was engaged in developing the serial production of rockets designed by the OKB-1 design bureau led by famous Soviet rocket designer Sergei Korolyov.
In the mid-1950s, the Makeyev design bureau switched to developing ballistic missiles for submarines. Now the company is engaged in scientific research and developments to create rocket and space systems, as well as space vehicles and their units and parts.