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    Russia builds Angara launch pad, confirms maiden flight in 2010

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    Russia's Design Bureau for Transport Machinery has completed the construction of a launch pad for a new-generation carrier rocket at the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, the company head said on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Design Bureau for Transport Machinery has completed the construction of a launch pad for a new-generation carrier rocket at the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia, the company head said on Wednesday.

    The space center currently comprises nine launch pads for Soyuz, Molniya, Cosmos-3M, Cyclone-3, Rockot launch vehicles, as well as a variety of assembly and testing facilities, telemetry and tracking stations.

    "We have completed the assembly of a launch pad and are continuing to develop the Angara launch complex," Alexei Gonchar said. "I hope that the first test launch of a lighter version of the Angara will be conducted as planned - in 2010."

    The Angara rocket, currently under development by the Khrunichev Space Research and Production center, is designed to put heavy payloads into orbit. It is intended mainly for launch from the Plesetsk center to reduce Moscow's dependence on Kazakhstan's Baikonur, the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets.

    The new line of rockets will be available in a range of configurations capable of lifting between two and 24.5 metric tons into low-earth orbit.

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