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Angara Launch Postponed Indefinitely

Published: June 30, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



  • Soldier guarding Angara during its rollout to the launch pad at Plesetsk on June 25.
    Photo: Ministry of Defense

Russian space officials have not yet identified the cause of Friday's last-minute postponement of the Angara rocket launch, and won't set a new launch date until the vehicle has been fixed, a space industry spokesperson said.

The rocket's flight computer automatically canceled the launch just 15 seconds before liftoff on Friday.

A spokesman from the Khrunichev Space Center, the prime contractor for the Angara rocket program, said that the State Commission — a body of officials that gives the final authorization for all major Russian space activities — will meet in the near future to look into the rocket's aborted launch, Interfax reported Monday.

The spokesman added that engineers are now checking a problem with the first stage propulsion system.

Earlier on Monday, RIA Novosti cited an unidentified Russian space industry source as saying that Angara's flight computer detected a leak in an oxidizer valve — a critical element in the rocket's propulsion system.

The Russian media were set to make an impressive show of Angara's launch on Friday, as the rocket's fate will act as a litmus test of Russia's post-Soviet space capabilities. The beleaguered space program has survived for the past 20 years by modernizing tried-and-true Soviet-era designs.

Media reports in the wake of Friday's failure suggested that there would be a second attempt on Saturday, but that launch window came and went, accompanied by even more silence from space officials.

An unidentified source told RIA Novosti that the rocket was being taken off of the launch pad that day for further investigation.

Although new rockets tend to be beset with difficulties during their first launches, Khrunichev's ability to build reliable rockets has been questioned frequently amid a series of embarrassing failures suffered by the normally-dependable Proton rocket since 2010. Recently, a Roscosmos deputy described the situation at the Khrunichev as "a serious systemic crisis."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Sunday, Dec. 21


The Zenit St. Petersburg basketball team returns to the northern capital this evening for a matchup with Krasny Oktyabr, a Volgograd-based basketball club. Tickets for the game, which tips off at 6 p.m. this evening, can be purchased on the club’s website or at their arena, Sibur Arena, on Krestovsky island.


Satisfy your sugar cravings during Sweet New Year, an ongoing seasonal festival at the Raduga shopping center. Each weekend of December will welcome hungry visitors to taste hundreds of different kinds of desserts. Workshops are open to visitors and seasonal gifts can also be purchased for those rushing to finish their New Year shopping.



Monday, Dec. 22


Pick out the latest fashions as holiday gifts for loved ones or as early presents for yourself during the Christmas Design Sale at Kraft on Obvodny Kanal, starting on Dec. 20 and continuing through Dec. 27. Designer clothes will be on sale every day of the week or you can buy something more festive to decorate the home while sipping on hot coffee and perusing the various master classes.



Tuesday, Dec. 23


Meet Arctic explorers Fedor Konukhov and Viktor Simonov during SPIBA’s and Capital Legal Service’s event “Arctic Expedition” this morning in the Mertens House business center at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. The meeting will discuss the explorers’ ongoing eco-social project and how companies can use the project as a unique marketing opportunity. Email office@spiba.ru by Dec. 22 if you wish to attend.



Wednesday, Dec. 24


The Anglican Church of St. Petersburg we will be holding a Christmas Eve service at 7 p.m. led by Rev Wm. Shepley Curtis of the Episcopal Church. The service will be held at the Swedish Church at 1/3 Malaya Konyushennaya Ulitsa.



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