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Angara rocket to be removed from launch pad for additional checks

June 30, 2014, 21:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The rocket was scheduled to lift off from Plesetsk on June 27 but its launch was automatically cancelled and postponed for one day

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© ITAR-TASS/Anton Novoderezhkin

MOSCOW, June 30./ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s new Angara-1.2PP carrier rocket will be removed from the launch pad at the northern Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Arkhangelsk Region, for additional checks after its flight scheduled for June 27 was cancelled.

“On the recommendation of the chief designer and the Military Space Defesce Troops, the Angara-1.2PP rocket will be removed from the launch table and sent to the assembly and test facility for additional checks,” the Khrunichev Space Centre, which made the vehicle, told ITAR-TASS on Monday, June 30.

The rocket was scheduled to lift off from Plesetsk on June 27 but its launch was automatically cancelled and postponed for one day but never took place. The rocket was not supposed to carry any payload. Its second stage with a test weight was to land at the Kura range in Kamchatka, 5,700 kilometres from the cosmodrome.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said earlier that Russia would launch the new Angara carrier rocket this year. “Angara has such characteristics that I hope it will be able to compete with the world’s best analogues in the future. The rocket was fully designed and made in Russia, using environmentally friendly fuel components - oxygen and kerosene,” he said.

“What is important is that we have laid the solid scientific and technical groundwork for improving our space systems and infrastructure,” the prime ministers added.

The new carrier rocket will be used to launch both civilian and military spacecraft and for international space cooperation projects.

Angara is one of the priorities in the development of the Plesetsk spaceport. In November 2013, a full-scale mock-up of the rocket was for the first time put up on the launch pad. It was a fully operational rocket but intended for ground testing only, not for launching.

Work to create the ground infrastructure for the new rocket and prepare an Angara launch is part of the federal program for the development of Russia’s cosmodromes in 2006-2015.

A super-heavy lift launch vehicle will be able to carry a payload of 80 tonnes to low-earth orbits. In the future, its capacity can be increased to 160 tonnes and more.

The launch site for super-heavy lift vehicles will be built at Russia’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome now under construction in the Far Eastern Amur Region.


Angara rocket

The Angara 1.2 vehicle was shipped to Plesetsk in late May 2013 to allow adequate time for extensive testing and interface verification efforts being performed prior to the planned launch in the first half of 2014. The Angara 5 vehicle is expected to be launched later in 2014. A heavy version of the rocket is being assembled.

Angara will allow Russia to launch all kinds of spacecraft to any orbit. Now Russia can launch heavy satellites only aboard Proton rockets from Baikonur, which it leases from Kazakhstan for about $115 million a year.

According to Khrunichev, a big advantage of the new rocket carrier is that “it is a universal space rocket system” capable of taking three types of rockets into space: light with a payload of up to 3.5 tonnes, medium with a payload of up to 14.6 tonnes, and heavy with a payload of up to 24.5 tonnes.

Medium lift and heavy lift launch vehicles can take payloads to the geostationary orbit as well.

The vehicle uses a unique engineering solution: the carrier can be assembled of the same modules. Their maximum number is five in a heavy version, three in a medium version, and one in a light version. They can all be launched form the same pad, not like now at Baikonur where each carrier requires its own launching pad.

The Angara class of rockets comprises four types of vehicles, with payload capacities ranging between 3.7 tones /light class, intended for low orbits/ and 28.5 tonnes.

The rockets are based on a universal rocket module powered by the RD-191 engine using kerosene and liquid oxygen. One such module makes up the first stage of the light class Angara 1.1 and Angara 1.2 boosters. Their second stages are different. The medium and heavy class boosters Angara-3 and Angara 4 are an extension of the light class types with additional three or four universal modules. Depending on the specific tasks, the booster can be equipped with the Briz-M or KVRB accelerator units.

Angara rockets will not use aggressive and toxic heptyl-based fuel, which will make them much more environmentally friendly.

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