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Rocket Returned to Launch Pad for Second Lift-Off Attempt

Published: July 8, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • Angara is Russia's first rocket of entirely post-Soviet design.
    Photo: Ministry of Defense

Russia's brand-new Angara rocket was returned to the launch pad on Monday morning after a last minute complication scrubbed a launch attempt last month, and is undergoing prelaunch preparations for a Wednesday lift-off, sources at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome said.

A source at the cosmodrome told RIA Novosti that the launch vehicle is now on the launch pad and is scheduled to be raised into vertical position on Monday.

Angara is Russia's first rocket of entirely post-Soviet design and attempts to ween Russia's ailing space industry off parts made in former Soviet countries by using exclusively domestic components.

The rocket was commissioned in 1994 in response to the partitioning of the once labyrinthine Soviet space industry amongst the former Soviet states when the communist state disintegrated in 1991. The Russian government was worried that countries with vital industrial assets, such as Ukraine, may one day withhold components needed for Russian space vehicles.

This dependence has been highlighted by the collapse in Russian-Ukrainian relations in the wake of Moscow's annexation of Crimea in March. Two weeks ago, Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko banned military-industrial cooperation with Russia, although it is not yet clear what effect, if any, this will have on space cooperation between the two nations. The two countries' space and defense industries are still highly integrated.

The new Russian rocket was originally scheduled to launch on June 27, but a drop in pressure in Angara's oxidizer tank moments before launch prompted its flight computer to automatically cancel the launch. The rocket was then taken off the pad and returned to its assembly building to remedy the problem and ensure the vehicle was in full working order.

Russian space officials have been reluctant to name a date for Angara's next launch attempt, but industry sources told various Russian media outlets over the weekend that preparations at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome located in Arkhangelsk region in northern Russia are underway for a launch on July 9.

The Khrunichev Space Center the Angara program's main contractor and builder of the Proton rockets has yet to release any official statements concerning Angara's fate.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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