Satellite Will Be Launched Into Space Using Converted ICBM Powered by Gunpowder

Next month, the Russian made Dnepr rocket will carry a European satellite into orbit. It's a very unique space vehicle. The rocket is an intercontinental ballistic missile launched from an underground silo. The first stage is a gunpowder charge:

Essentially, the rocket is packed inside a canister which is loaded into a silo.

At launch, a black powder charge underneath the vehicle produces rapidly expanding gases that pop the Dnepr up out of the ground like a champagne cork.

There is then this heart-stopping moment when the vehicle just hangs 20m above the ground before the first-stage motors kick in and the former war machine climbs skyward. via Knirirr's Wafflings | YouTube Video of a Dnepr Launch | Image: BBC

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How things have changed over the past 30 years. Politics is a strange thing. I wonder if we will be so cool in 30 years time when North Korea have something similar ;-)
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