Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Russia Angara Rocket Booster: Successful Launch

A Russian-built Angara medium-lift rocket launches on its maiden test flight from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on July 9. 2014.

Credit: Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia's recent maiden launch of its new Angara rocket is a harbinger of bigger boosters to come.

The successful test flight also marked the country's first new launch vehicle to be built from scratch since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The July 9 suborbital flight of the light-lift Angara-1.2ML rocket lifted off from Russia's Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the country's northern Arkhangelsk region. (The "ML" stands for "maiden launch.")

The test flight, which lasted roughly 21 minutes and was not intended to reach orbit, launched the Angara rocket over Russian territory on a ballistic trajectory.

A "mass/dimensional payload simulator" topped the Angara, attached to the rocket's second stage.

That booster ultimately fell back to Earth over a targeted impact area of the Kura Range on the Kamchatka Peninsula over 3,500 miles (5,700 kilometers) from the launch site.

An Angara rocket, the first in Russia's new launch vehicle family, soars skyward after a July 9, 2014 launch from Plesetsk Cosmodrome during a test flight

Credit: Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center

Russia's Angara rockets are being developed by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow.

The two-stage Angara-1.2ML runs on "ecologically clean components," oxygen and kerosene, according to Khrunichev representatives.

According to Khrunichev, the family of Angara rockets includes a range of light-, medium- and heavy-lift launch vehicles based on generic modules.

The modular principle supports the buildup of various launch vehicle classes by using generic boosters: one for the light-lift, three for the medium-lift and five for the heavy-lift.

Russia has deemed the Angara Space Rocket Complex (SRC) one of the priorities in the country's national program to develop launch systems by tapping domestic research and development, along with production potential.

The nation views building the Angara SRC as a task of national importance. When the Angara SRC becomes operational, "Russia will be in a position to launch all types of satellites from its own territory, thereby gaining a guaranteed independent access to outer space," according to a Khrunichev press statement.

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