At the time, NBC News space analyst James Oberg said he had indications that the Topol's "third-stage spin is a 'feature,' not a malfunction, and may be associated with guidance, or decoy deploy, or enhancing hardness against U.S. boost-phase antimissile weapons."UPDATE 3 - The Russian's have declared the launch a great success
UPDATE 2 - It seems like the path of the missile started in southwest Russia, and headed southwest towards Israel and Jodran, with reports of it being spotted in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Israel and Jordan. It seems likely it would have been spotted in northern Iraq as well, but no reports of that as yet. It was reported in January that Russia would be testing "70 new missile systems" in 2012 at the Kapustin Yar Missile Test Range in southwest Russia.The Strategic Missile Forces of the Russian Federation have conducted another successful test of the “Topol” Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, this time from the firing ground at "Kapustin Yar" in Astrakhan in Southern Russia.The exercise saw the missile accurately hit its target on the firing range "Sary-Shagan" in Kazakhstan.The test was conducted to confirm the stability of the basic performance characteristics of this class of missile reported the Ministry of Defense.The ministry representatives added that all of the objectives of the test launch were met in full. In particular, it was possible to obtain information that will be used in the future to develop the means to overcome missile defense systems.
UPDATE - Ynet has reported the following
Russia's Defense Ministry says the Russian army successfully test-fired an intercontinental ballistic missile.Around 7pm BST reports started to come in from Syria that helicopters had started spraying white smoke/chemicals across cities in Syria, with activists posting videos from across Syria:
The Topol missile was fired at 9:39 Moscow time, according to a statement published by the Novosti news agency. (Ynet)
Hundreds of Israelis nationwide flooded police hotlines Thursday evening with reports about seeing an unidentified flying object in the nation's skies.This video shows the above mentioned sighting over Norway
A prominent Israeli astronomer said the object flew above Lebanese territory and is not a meteor. The UFO was also clearly visible in Palestinian territories. A similar sighting in Norway three years ago turned out to be a failed missile test.
This video of tonight's event also shows a spiraling pattern at around 24 seconds in
So it seems like it could be a missile test. It's also interesting to note it's been reported as being spotted far and wide, with this video apparently from Azerbaijan:
And the same spiral pattern filmed in Armenia:
And another from Armenia
If you've spotted any other videos from countries around that region let me know on Twitter @brown_moses