Russia Plans Angara Launches in 2012, Works on Answer to X-37

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Angara rocket engine test

A couple of brief updates from Russia:

The long-delayed Angara rocket will be ready for testing next year. “We plan that it will be fully prepared for launch in 2012. Everything is going according to plan,” said Space Troops chief Oleg Ostapenko.

Angara is a modular family of rockets designed to be the mainstay for Russia’s strategic launches, replacing several existing rockets. It will be capable of launching between 2 and 40.5 tons of cargo into low Earth orbit. Development of the rocket has been delayed several years due to financial shortfalls.

Ostapenko also told reporters that Russia is developing a spacecraft similar to the U.S. X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle that flew last year.

“Something has been done along these lines, but as to whether we will use it, only time will tell,” Ostapenko said.

Read the full stories here and here.