Russian scientist: Soviet-era missiles can destroy asteroids

June 23, 2013 at 5:40 PM

MIASS, Russia, June 23 (UPI) -- A Russian scientist said Soviet-era Satan missiles can be used to destroy Earth-threatening asteroids like the one that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February.

Sabit Saitgarayev, a State Rocket Design Center senior researcher in the city of Miass near Chelyabinsk, said the SS-18 Satan heavy intercontinental ballistic missiles can remain in a condition of readiness for launching for 10 or more years, with some reequipping, RIA Novosti reported Sunday.

"Carrier rockets created on the basis of intercontinental ballistic missiles like Voyevoda (the Soviet term for the Satan missiles), which use standard liquid fuel based on hydrazine, are well-suited for fighting suddenly discovered small objects," said Saitgarayev.

Satan missiles can be used for demolishing objects with a diameter of up to 100 meters, if equipped for that purpose. A missile reequipped with a booster would be able to destroy objects five or six hours before their collision with the planet, he said.

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