On Wednesday, the 22, from the viewing post in front of the Fili Hotel, the team watched the launch of an SS-19 Rockot and even the camels came to watch!
Now for our launch vehicle lessonâ€¦
Rockot is the English spelling of the Russian word ‘Pokot’ which means ‘rumble’. The SS-19 Rockot is an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) and was manufactured in the late 70s and 80s. The ICBMs were specifically designed for long term storage in silos and in the former Soviet Union the official name for this family of missile was the RS-18 or UR-100N. (We were told not to confuse this rocket with the SS-18 missile which is totally different). The SS-19s are now primarily used by Eurokot which is a joint venture between Khrunichev and EADS Space Transportation. A test launch of the SS-19 is conducted on an annual basis to provide some training and to test the reliability of the launch system.
We have been very fortunate this campaign to have had the opportunity to view several different kinds of launches. This was the first silo launch many of us had ever seen. The biggest difference was that the rocket came straight out of the ground with no launch pad!