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Russia’s new space rocket on track for launch by June

Mock-up of the Angara rocket during assembly at the Khrunichev Space Center outside Moscow. (Photo from khrunichev.ru)

Preparations for launch of Russia’s first large rocket since the Soviet era are on track at the Plesetsk space center. The first launch is expected in June.

Location

A full-scale mock-up of the Angara rocket was rolled out earlier this week to a launch pad at the Plesetsk space center in Arkhangelsk Oblast. The mock-up of the Angara will be used to test ground support systems ahead of the maiden launch.  

Russia’s Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev visited Plesetsk on Wednesday to see the preparations for himself. He said that the Angara rocket was a great achievement for Russia’s aerospace industry, one that would secure access to space in the future for both government and civilian payloads. «It will be copetitive with foreign rivals», he said according to RIA Novosti.

The Angara will enable Russia to conduct all kind of space launch operations from Russian territory. A total of seven types of Angar rockets will be produced, each designed for different operations and cargo. 

The Angara is planned to launch from both Plesetsk and the new Vostochny space center in Russia’s Far East that is being built to reduce reliance on the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan.