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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

Friday, Aug. 1


Bikers from all around the world will gather to take part in a parade, extreme shows and rock concerts during the International Biker Festival that revs its engines today and runs through Aug. 3 near Olgino Hotel, 4/2 Primorskogo Shosse.


The Peter and Paul Fortress will be turned into an open-air cinema today and tomorrow as part of the 5th International Short and Animation Film Festival. A huge screen across the fortress walls will air short films non-stop with board games, photo sessions and other activities also on offer for visitors. For more information, visit www.opencinemafest.ru



Saturday, Aug. 2


Gatchina Palace Park Museum will host its second annual Night of Light, an impressive audio-visual show across the night sky. Tickets are 600 rubles ($16).


If graphic design is more your thing then check out Illustration Day, where you will be able to visit an exhibition, attend lectures by professionals and even show experts some of your own work. The event starts at noon at Zona Deystvia, 73 Ligovsky Prospekt. The entrance fee is 350 rubles ($10).



Sunday, Aug. 3


History lovers shouldn’t miss the chance to see reenactments of World War I battles in Pushkin at noon. Besides exciting war scenes, visitors can enjoy live music, historical costumes, an equestrian show and a fancy-dress parade starting from the Moscow gates.


Garage Sale, the popular and growing flea market where nothing is priced over 500 rubles ($14.11), starts today at noon in Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt. Be sure to get in early to score a bargain. Entry costs 50 rubles ($1.40)



Monday, Aug. 4


Continue the working week with a calm and steady mind with a free yoga lesson at 7 p.m. in the Bukvoyed store at 23A Vladimirsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Aug. 5


Visit The Romanov Dynasty doll exhibition today, where more than fifty porcelain dolls depicting Russian rulers, and made by Olina Ventzel, will be on show. The exhibition continues through Aug. 31 in Sheremetyev Palace, 34 Fontanka Naberezhnaya.



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