Russia’s new Angara rockets to be test launched before 2014

Test launches of Russia’s new generation Angara booster rockets will begin no later than 2013, a spokesman for the Russian Space Forces said.

Alexei Zolotukhin said work to build on-ground infrastructure of the space complex for launches of Angara carrier rockets is currently in active stage at Russia’s northern space center Plesetsk.

Angara rockets, designed to provide lifting capabilities between 2,000 and 40,500 kg into low earth orbit, are expected to become the core of Russia’s carrier rocket fleet, replacing several existing systems.

The rockets have a modular design similar to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), based on a common Universal Rocket Module (URM).

The main purpose of the Angara rocket family is to give Russia independent access to space. The rockets will reduce Russia’s dependence on the Baikonur space center it leases from Kazakhstan by allowing the launch of heavy payloads from more northerly sites such as Plesetsk and from a new space center in Russia’s Far East.

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