'Satan' Launch From Mini-Cosmodrome Successful

According to the Russian news service Interfax, a heavy intercontinental  ballistic  missile (ICBM), dubbed 'Satan' in the West, was successfully launched Wednesday.

The missile hit a training  target  at a range on Kamchatka Peninsula, covering more than 6,000 kilometers,  Commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov told Interfax.

"The   successful   launch   confirmed   the   principal  technical characteristics  of  the missiles, which account for a significant share of the Strategic Missile Forces potential," the commander said.

The  launch  "has  again  showed  the rightness of the design and technological  solutions,  which were applied in building the missile system equipped with this ICBM, and its preparedness for performing its combat duties over an extended period of time," Solovtsov said.

The  missile that was launched on Wednesday had been on combat duty for 16 years, the general said.

The Ukrainian-built missile, dubbed "Satan" by NATO durig the height of the Cold War, is the SS-18 and referred to as an RS-18 or a "Voyevoda " (Russian for 'warrior chief') by the Russian press. It is the world's biggest military rocket. It can throw a nine-ton warhead, comprised of up to ten thermonuclear warheads, halfway across the planet in 30-minutes. It uses storable self-igniting propellants much like those of the now-discarded 'Titan' missile.

Russian missile officials have discussed the planned launching for several weeks . Originally the flight was billed as an exercise to clear the way for making commercial orbital launches from the missile base. Flights of missiles with such toxic fuels are being phased out at Russia's main cosmodrome, Baikonur, in now-independent Kazakhstan, due to the host country's environmental concerns.

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