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Russia to make second attempt to launch newest space rocket

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[July 09, 2014]  MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia will make a second attempt to launch its first newly designed space rocket since the Soviet era on Wednesday after its high-profile debut was aborted in the final countdown last month.

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 Plesetsk cosmodrome.

"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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