MOSCOW, April 24 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian military expects the first launch of a new Angara carrier rocket to take place in 2014 after the construction of a new launch complex at the Plesetsk space center is completed, Deputy Defense Minister Col. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said Wednesday.
The Angara rockets, designed to provide lifting capabilities of between 2,000 and 40,500 kilograms into low earth orbit, have been in development since 1995.
“We are hoping for 2014. But it all depends on the industry – how fast they can build the rocket,” Ostapenko told reporters in Moscow. The maiden launch of the light-class Angara was previously expected in 2013.
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.
Ostapenko also said on Wednesday that the timeframe for the launch of a Soyuz-2.1V lightweight rocket will be determined in May, as the test launch scheduled for 2013 has been postponed due to an accident during the firing tests of the rocket’s engines.