Third launch try for Russia’s Angara rocket on Thursday

By Thomson Reuters Apr 10, 2024 | 6:57 PM

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia will embark on a third attempt on Thursday to proceed with a test launch of its Angara-A5 space rocket after technical glitches prompted officials to abort missions at the very last minute for two days in a row.

Russia’s space chief, Yuri Borisov, quoted by Russian news agencies, said the launch had been rescheduled for noon on Thursday (0900 GMT) at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, located in the forests of the Amur region in Russia’s Far East.

The launch of the Angara is intended to showcase Russia’s post-Soviet space ambitions and the growing role played by Vostochny.

Borisov said Wednesday’s second attempt had been scrubbed because of problems with the rocket’s engine start mechanism.

“After the analysis of all the nuances and the conclusion of the state commission, we will tentatively repeat the launch attempt tomorrow at the same time,” Borisov said on Wednesday.

He played down the significance of the aborted launches, saying test flights sought to identify problems, which he said were not unusual at this stage of development.

He said the latest problem was most likely a software error, “which will certainly be found today”. He said Tuesday’s launch had been aborted due to a faulty valve.

President Vladimir Putin has grand ambitions for Russia’s space program, including planned construction of a new Russian space station by 2027, and has described the Angara project as having huge significance for national security.

The Angara launch vehicle is capable of carrying payloads bigger than 20 tonnes into orbit.

This launch is the first from Vostochny. Due to its location closer to the equator, Angara-A5 can deliver a heavier payload to orbit if launched from there rather than from Plesetsk, a Soviet-era facility where Russia has previously carried out three successful Angara test launches.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Leslie Adler)