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The launch of a converted RS-20 Voyevoda intercontinental ballistic missile
The launch of a converted RS-20 Voyevoda intercontinental ballistic missile to put a Thai earth observation satellite in orbit has been postponed, a spokesman for the launch company said Wednesday.

The launch, from a silo in the southern Urals, had been scheduled for August 6 under a contract with Kosmotras, a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture that acquires RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) scrapped by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces and converts them into Dnepr launch vehicles.

"The launch scheduled for today has been postponed to an alternated time," the Kosmotras spokesman said, without specifying a new liftoff date.

The THEOS satellite was designed and manufactured by French company EADS Astrium under a 2004 contract with the Thai Ministry of Science and Technology. Its launch had been previously delayed twice due to Russia's failure to agree with Uzbekistan on where to let spent rocket stages fall.

THEOS will provide Thailand with worldwide geo-referenced image products and image-processing capabilities for applications in cartography, land use, agricultural monitoring, forestry management, coastal zone monitoring and flood risk management.

The Thai satellite will be the third to be launched by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces and Kosmotras from the Yasny launch site. Russia launched the Genesis I and Genesis II inflatable spacecraft from the same location in July 2006 and June 2007, respectively, under a contract with the U.S.-based company Bigelow Aerospace.

Russia said in late July that the SS-18 remained the most powerful ICBM in the world and would stay in service with the Strategic Missile Forces until 2014-16.


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