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Tests of Angara rocket postponed to 2012 over lack of funds

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, December 5 (RIA Novosti) - The test launch of Russia's new Angara carrier rocket, which had been scheduled for 2011, have been put back by one year due to lack of financing, space agency Roscosmos said on Saturday.

Engine trials were completed earlier this week. The Angara is intended mainly for launch from the Plesetsk space center to reduce Moscow's dependence on Kazakhstan's Baikonur, the main launch facility for the current generation of Russian rockets.

Agency chief Anatoly Perminov said the Defense Ministry has had to reduce financing for the project, being developed by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, resulting in delays to the construction of launch facilities.

The family of Angara rockets will complement, and eventually replace, the existing line of Rockot and Proton launch vehicles. It will be available in a range of configurations capable of lifting between from 2 to 24.5 metric tons into low-earth orbit, and its creators say it will have a low environment impact.

The rockets will be used for military and civilian purposes, specifically to put into orbit satellites as part of the Federal Space Program, as well as joint international space projects.

The Khrunichev center recently asked the government to allocate an additional 10 billion rubles (about $290 million) over the next three years to finish the development of the rocket.

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