Commercial Rockets

START (Старт) — Russia, 1993

The START treaty between the USA and the USSR made both countries decommission a number of nuclear missiles. The Russians recycled one type, the RT-2PM Topol, into an orbital rocket, and named it after the treaty. The missile had three solid stages, so they slapped on a fourth and voila. For one launch they added a fifth stage, but that failed.

This rocket essentially retired in 2006, but in 2019 they decided to bring it back for some reason. Is this something that will continue, or an isolated fluke? No idea. The soonest it will fly again is 2022.

The one cool thing about the rocket is that it launches from a big truck: a transporter-erector-launcher unmodified from the Topol version.

Start-1: mass 47 t, diam 1.6 m, thrust 980 kN, imp 2.6 km/s, type S, payload 0.53 t (1.1%), cost unknown, record 6/0/1.