More than two decades in the works, the new generation Angara
rockets are a key to President Vladimir Putin's effort to reform a
once-pioneering space industry hobbled after years of budget cuts
and a brain drain in the 1990s.
The Angara-1.2PP test rocket, which failed to launch on June 27, is
again being primed for blast off from Russia's northern military
"The decision to pump fuel in the rocket has been taken," a source
at the launch pad told news agency Interfax. The source said the
launch was planned for daytime Wednesday but gave no time.
The inaugural launch is due to follow a less than half-hour long
suborbital flight path across Russia's Arctic coastline.
The designer of the first stage RD-191 engine, Energomash, blamed
the failure on its first trial launch on a drop in the pressure of
the oxidizer tank.
The rocket is the first entirely designed and built within
post-Soviet Russia's borders - ordered by then President Boris
Yeltsin in the 1990s to break dependence on other ex-Soviet
republics and a launch pad Russia leases from Kazakhstan.
A potential commercial rival to Arianespace of France and
Californian-based SpaceX, a heavier version of the modular launcher
is designed to replace Russia's workhorse Proton rocket which has
suffered an embarrassing litany of failures.
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But industry experts estimate its development has cost billions of
dollars and the Angara rockets will only become commercially viable
in another decade if launched from a new cosmodrome Russia is
building in the far east.
(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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