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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 due to put a Thai earth observation satellite into orbit has been postponed once again, a launch company spokesperson said Thursday.

The launch, due to take place from a silo in the southern Urals, was postponed as the launch company, Kosmotras, is still waiting for permission from Kazakhstan. During the launch rocket parts will fall on Kazakh territory.

"The launch of the RS-20 rocket with the THEOS satellite, planned for August 6 (reserve date August 7) has been postponed due to a delay in obtaining permission for the lift off from the Republic of Kazakhstan," said Vladimir Mikhailov.

Russian and Kazakh specialists are currently holding talks to try and reach an agreement on the launch.

"A new launch date will be scheduled once an agreement has been reached," Mikhailov said.

Kosmotras is a Russian-Ukrainian joint venture that converts RS-20 (SS-18 Satan) ICBMs, scrapped by Russia's Strategic Missile Forces, into Dnepr launch vehicles.

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 Kazakhstan on where to let spent rocket stages fall.

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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