Angara Prepped for Launch in Second Quarter

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After nearly 20 years of development, Russians new Angara rocket is on track to make its inaugural flight sometime during the second quarter of this year. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev spoke confidently of the rocket’s future as he toured the Plesetsk Cosmodrome where the launch vehicle is being prepped for the mission.

“The rocket has been designed and produced entirely by domestic companies and uses environmentally-friendly propellants,” Medvedev said during a tour of Russia’s northern Plesetsk space center.

He noted that the Angara rocket was a great achievement for Russia’s aerospace industry, one that would secure access to space in the future for both government and civilian payloads….

The Angara is planned to launch from both Plesetsk and the new Vostochny space center in Russia’s Far East that is being built to reduce reliance on the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.

The modular launcher will have a variety of configurations to cover a wide range of payload weights, from two to 24.5 metric tons. They are currently served by several different rockets, including the Proton, Russia’s largest booster.

The Angara has been under development since 1995. Its maiden flight has been postponed many times due to delays in testing, production and the development of launch facilities at Plesetsk.