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Preparation for first Angara rocket launch on schedule

KRASNOARMEISK, Sept. 18 — Preparations for the first launch of Russia’s new rocket Angara scheduled for late December are going as planned, Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Borisov said on Wednesday.

“Everything is going by schedule. We hope to launch the Angara at the end of the year,” he said.

The rocket will be launched without payload, the deputy minister added.

The lightweight Angara-1.2PP rocket successfully blasted off from the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk Region on July 9. Twenty-one minutes after the liftoff the test weight reached the designated area at the Kura range in Kamchatka, 5,700 km from the launch site.

A heavy version of the rocket is scheduled to go on its maiden flight in December from Plesetsk. In the future, the rocket will be launched from the Vostochny spaceport in the Far Eastern Amur Region.

Angara was initially scheduled to lift off from Plesetsk on June 27 but its launch was automatically cancelled and postponed for one day but never took place. The rocket was not supposed to carry any payload. Its second stage with a test weight was to land at the Kura range in Kamchatka, 5,700 kilometers from the cosmodrome.

Angara is one of the priorities in the development of the Plesetsk spaceport. In November 2013, a full-scale mock-up of the rocket was for the first time put up on the launch pad. It was a fully operational rocket but intended for ground testing only, not for launching.

Work to create the ground infrastructure for the new rocket and prepare an Angara launch is part of the federal program for the development of Russia’s cosmodromes in 2006-2015.

A super-heavy lift launch vehicle will be able to carry a payload of 80 tonnes to low-earth orbits. In the future, its capacity can be increased to 160 tonnes and more.

Angara will allow Russia to launch all kinds of spacecraft to any orbit. Now Russia can launch heavy satellites only aboard Proton rockets from Baikonur, which it leases from Kazakhstan for about USD 115 million a year.

According to Khrunichev, a big advantage of the new rocket carrier is that “it is a universal space rocket system” capable of taking three types of rockets into space: light with a payload of up to 3.5 tonnes, medium with a payload of up to 14.6 tonnes, and heavy with a payload of up to 24.5 tonnes.

Medium lift and heavy lift launch vehicles can take payloads to the geostationary orbit as well.

The vehicle uses a unique engineering solution: the carrier can be assembled of the same modules. Their maximum number is five in a heavy version, three in a medium version, and one in a light version. They can all be launched form the same pad, not like now at Baikonur where each carrier requires its own launching pad.

The Angara class of rockets comprises four types of vehicles, with payload capacities ranging between 3.7 tones (light class, intended for low orbits) and 28.5 tonnes.

Angara rockets will not use aggressive and toxic heptyl-based fuel, which will make them much more environmentally friendly.(PNA/ITAR-TASS)


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