MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti) –Test flights of the Angara carrier rocket are due to start at Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia’s Arkhangelsk Region, where the new carrier rocket is due to be launched in late June, Colonel Alexei Zolotukhin, a spokesman for Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces, told RIA Novosti Friday.
“The decision on the start of test flights was made at a session of the state committee today, on June 20, at the headquarters of the Aerospace Defense Forces,” Zolotukhin said.
The committee members have assessed the readiness of the Angara-1.2PP rocket and the surface facilities to launch the test flights and set the expected date for the rocket delivery to the Plesetsk launch site for June 25. The final decision is to be announced June 24.
The first launch of the new Angara carrier rocket has been delayed from June 25 to June 27, Alexei Zolotukhin confirmed to RIA Novosti. On Thursday, a source in the space industry reported the delay.
“The first test launch of the Angara-1.2PP light rocket to be made from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome is due on June 27," Zolotukhin said.
The Angara family of rockets, in development since 1995, is planned to be built in light, semi-heavy and heavy versions to lift a variety of payloads between two and 40 metric tons into low orbit around the Earth.
The rocket has a liquid-oxygen and kerosene powered first stage and hydrogen-oxygen fueled second stage, so-called green fuels that will make the rocket both more ecologically friendly and safer for support personnel than the country’s current largest rocket, the Proton.
Angara is designed to complement the country’s venerable Soyuz rocket, currently the only vehicle in the world capable of launching astronauts to the International Space Station.