Russia’s Rokot/Briz-KM rocket has made its final launch Friday, with an early-morning liftoff from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome carrying three Gonets-M communications satellites. Rokot departed Plesetsk at 02:11 Moscow Time (23:11 UTC on Thursday), deploying its payloads into Low Earth orbit.
Rokot was developed as a low-cost, lightweight rocket, leveraging decommissioned missile hardware to place small payloads into orbit. Rokot used the first two stages of the UR-100NUTTKh ballistic missile, coupled with a Briz-KM upper stage, to perform this mission.
The UR-100NUTTKh – identified by NATO as the SS-19 Stiletto Mod. 3 – is the ultimate evolution of the UR-100 series of missiles. This was the smallest of the Universalnaya Raketa – or Universal Rocket (UR) – designs produced by Vladimir Chelomei’s OKB-52 bureau. UR-100, which was assigned the NATO reporting name SS-11 Sego, first flew in April 1965 and was accepted into military service two years later. Two upgraded versions of the design were tested in the late 1960s and early 1970s – the UR-100K and UR-100M – which replaced some of the deployed UR-100s. Some UR-100Ks remained in service until the early 1990s.
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The 1970s ...