Roscosmos: Test launch of heavy-lift Angara due in late December

The first test launch of the heavy-lift Angara LV will take place no earlier than December 25, 2014, a source in the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told Interfax-AVN.

The first test launch of the heavy-lift Angara LV will take place no earlier than December 25, 2014, a source in the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) told Interfax-AVN.

"The Defense Ministry will set the launch date, but it [the launch] is so far scheduled for a period after December 25," the senior official said.

A successful mission is more important for Roscosmos than a launch done by the deadline, so, if any problems occur, the launch of the heavy-lift Angara may be postponed, the same as it has happened to the light Angara, he said.

Preparations for the inaugural launch of the Angara heavy-lift rocket are proceeding as planned and the launch is due in late December, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov told reporters earlier.

"We are on schedule as of today. Hopefully, the Angara will be launched in the end of this year," he said.

The rocket will not carry any payload in its maiden launch, Borisov added.

The Angara family consists of four types of vehicles ranging from a light version with a lifting capacity of 1.7 to 3.7 tonnes to a heavy one with a lifting capacity of 28.5 tonnes. The launch vehicles are based on a universal module powered by the RD-191 engine, which runs on environmentally friendly fuels, i.e. kerosene and liquid oxygen.

A light Angara-1.2PP (pervyi zapusk or first launch) blasted off from the Plesetsk space center in the Arkhangelsk region on July 9 and test flights began.

The flight lasted about 21 minutes along a ballistic trajectory over Russian territory. The rocket delivered a mock-up of a spacecraft weighing about 1.5 tonnes to the Kura range in Kamchatka.

The first test launch of the light version of the Angara tested some of the technologies to be used in operating the Angara-5 heavy version.

The first attempt to launch the Angara-1.2PP was made on June 27 and was aborted several seconds before lift-off by an automated system controlling the rocket's parameters.

A commission investigating the incident concluded later that the mission had been aborted because of a defect in a draining valve of a liquid fuel tank.

The Angara system would be capable of placing virtually the entire spectrum of prospective payloads required by the Defense Ministry and other customers into orbits of various altitudes and inclinations, including a geostationary orbit, guaranteeing the independence of the national military space program.

The Angara rockets will not use aggressive and toxic rocket fuels, which should significantly improve their environmental safety both in the area adjacent to the launch pad and in the places where its separating components are dropped.

Read more: Moon bases, orbit cleaners and rockets to Mars: Russia’s most ambitious space projects>>>

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