Russia's Angara Launch Delayed Due to Bad Valve

Russia's Angara Launch Delayed Due to Bad Valve

Russia has not announced a date to retry the launch of its new Angara booster, but officials said today (June 30) that the rocket was rolled back from the launch pad to its assembly and test facility.  The launch was scrubbed on Friday (June 27) and a Russian official said at the time they would try again the next day, but fixing the problem apparently is more involved than initially thought.

This suborbital test of the smallest version of Angara is to take place from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome near the Arctic Circle.  The approximately 25 minute flight carrying a dummy payload will terminate at Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. 

Several versions of Angara are planned to replace many of the venerable Soviet-era rockets in use for decades.   Development of the Angara family began in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The two-stage rocket uses environmentally-friendly fuels (liquid oxygen/kerosene and liquid oxygen/hydrogen).  Three versons now in development will be able to launch 3.7 tons, 14.6 tons, or 25 tons to low Earth orbit (LEO) respectively.

Today, Russia’s RIA Novosti news service clarified that the launch was scrubbed just 15 seconds before liftoff because of a “poorly sealed drainage pressurization valve within the oxidizer manifold.”  Angara manufacturer Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center acknowledged that the rocket will be removed from the launch pad and returned to its assembly and test facility for thorough tests. 

No date or range of dates was announced for the next launch attempt, but presumably it will be days, at least. 

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