Russia successfully launches Angara heavy-lift rocket after long hiatus

WION Web Team
Moscow, Russia Published: Dec 14, 2020, 04:31 PM(IST)

Angara-A5 launched with a mock payload from Plesetsk in northern Russia Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

Angara rocket, first developed after the fall of the Soviet Union, blasted off with a mock payload from Plesetsk in northern Russia at 0550 GMT

Russian space agency Roscosmos announced that it had successfully launched Angara-A5 heavy-lift rocket after a long hiatus of nearly six years.

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Angara rocket, first developed after the fall of the Soviet Union, blasted off with a mock payload from Plesetsk in northern Russia at 0550 GMT.

Twelve minutes and 28 seconds after the launch, "the orbital block consisting of the Breeze-M upper stage and the spacecraft's cargo mockup separated from the third stage of the carrier", Roscosmos said in a statement.

Also see: Russia's Soyuz spacecraft takes quickest crew trip to International Space Station

Agency head Dmitry Rogozin welcomed the news on Twitter, posting a picture of the rocket and writing: "She flies, damn it!"

The mission, which continues work to certify the Angara to carry national security payloads, had already been delayed by several years due to manufacturing and quality control issues.

The only other launch of the heavy-class Angara rocket took place in late December 2014, while a test of a lighter class version of the rocket was conducted in July that year.

The Angara rockets -- named after a Siberian river flowing out of Lake Baikal -- are the first new family of launchers to be built after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

They are designed to replace the Proton rockets that date back to the 1960s and have suffered a series of embarrassing failures in recent years. 

President Vladimir Putin hopes the new launchers will revive Russia's space industry and reduce reliance on other former Soviet countries. 

Officials say the heavy-class Angara rocket is more environmentally friendly than its predecessors because it is fuelled by oxygen and kerosene rather than hugely toxic heptyl.

Angara is a family of rockets developed by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Centre based around the Universalniy Raketniy Modul (URM) or Universal Rocket Module.

The URM-1 is a common booster used across the family of rockets, being employed as the first core stage of all Angara configurations, with additional units serving as side boosters on the larger versions of the rocket. Similarly, the URM-2 has been designed as a common second stage for the family, although it is not used on the smallest version of the rocket, Angara-1.

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