[FPSPACE] Missiles for everybody
zirconic1 at earthlink.net
Fri Nov 19 17:36:51 EST 2004
From: Keith Gottschalk <kgottschalk at uwc.ac.za>
>>I agree that it would be a tragedy for Russia to >redeploy the SS-19
>monsters which were repatriated from the Ukraine. >That's a step back.
>Better that Americans revise the agreement to permit >employment of those
>missiles for commercial launch purposes.
> Even if it technically breaks some clause in a treaty to transfer these missiles from military to civilian, commercial use, I am sure this is one treaty violation which the US Govt.will not protest over, nor declare WW3.
The definition of a treaty is a collection of clauses, so when someone breaks them, the other party does not simply look the other way.
The use of former ICBMs for space launch is a complex issue and not easy to solve. There are economic hurdles to it. For instance, do the Russians want to undercut their own rocket programs by offering ICBMs as an additional launcher?
There are also some technical hurdles as well. For instance, these missiles are solid fueled and solid fuel rockets tend to produce more vibration and acceleration at launch. Many satellites cannot handle that.
The US has already agreed to allow some former ICBMs and former SLBMs to be converted to space launch purposes, but the Russians have launched only a handful of payloads using them. Others can provide more details.
The key problem here is getting the Russians below the warhead cap in the treaty. Because a higher percentage of their warheads are on big ICBMs (compared to the US, which has a higher percentage on submarines), cutting warheads means cutting big Russian ICBMs and building new, smaller ones. As a result, the Russians face costlier choices to achieve the limits.
Finally, I might add that the Putin speech may be over-interpreted. We all know that occasionally a reporter will breathlessly report something that has been common knowledge for several years. It is possible that people are reading too much into Putin's comments and there is really nothing new here.
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