MOSCOW, May 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s new super-heavy class Angara carrier rocket will be delivered to the Plesetsk space center for further testing by June, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said.
“The work on the rocket at the Khrunichev space company is almost completed,” Rogozin said at a meeting with Moscow University students on Friday.
“The Angara will be loaded on a railroad platform and sent to Plesetsk,” he added.
Rogozin did not say when the rocket, capable of delivering up to 75 tons of payload into orbit, will make its maiden flight, but expressed confidence that the Angara development and testing schedule, approved by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, will be observed.
Angara rockets, designed to provide lifting capabilities of between 2,000 and 75,000 kilograms into low earth orbit, have been in development since 1995.
The Russian Defense Ministry said earlier in May that the maiden launches of light- and heavy-class Angara rockets had been postponed until 2014 as the construction of Angara launch facilities at Plesetsk had not been completed yet.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu expressed concern over the delays, saying the ministry would closely watch the development of the new rocket family as a high priority project.
The Angara 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 the Plesetsk space center in northern Russia and from the new Vostochny space center in Russia’s Far East.