Russia plans to re-start trial launches of the RS-20 Voyevoda Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, after converting the Dnepr missile, also known by NATO as “Satan.” Russia now possesses 60 such missiles which, over the next five years, will be withdrawn from service. The plan is to use the Voyevoda missiles for civilian purposes, for commercial launches, to avoid having to destroy the expensive missiles.
The Dnepr is the converted R-36M (in various modifications) Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). It is being offered on the market for rocket launches by the Kosmotras company, founded in Moscow, on the basis of an agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian governments. The R-36M was has been withdrawn from service since the beginning of the 1990s and has been transferred to Dnepropetrovsk (Ukraine) for conversion to launch satellites, with direct Ukrainian involvement. The military and political crisis, however, has brought confusion to Ukraine’s international space cooperation with Russia. This ambiguity has also affected the Dnepr rocket delivery programme.