Russia prepares for first Angara rocket launch from Vostochny cosmodrome

Russia is set to conduct the inaugural launch of its Angara A5 space rocket from the Vostochny Cosmodrome on Tuesday, marking a significant step in President Vladimir Putin's space exploration goals, according to the state space agency Roscosmos.

Publication: 09.04.2024 - 11:30
Russia prepares for first Angara rocket launch from Vostochny cosmodrome
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The heavy-lift rocket's test launch from a newly constructed pad symbolizes Russia's aspirations for space dominance, despite the project's history of delays and corruption scandals that have inflated its cost by billions.

Roscosmos announced the scheduled launch time as 12:00 Moscow time (0900 GMT) via the Telegram messaging app. Located in the Amur region of Russia's Far East, near the border with China and approximately 1,500 km (930 miles) from Vladivostok, the cosmodrome is poised to play a pivotal role in the country's space endeavors.

This launch will be the Angara A5's fourth, nearly a decade after its maiden flight, with all previous launches originating from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia. The 42.7-metre rocket, designed to carry over 20 tonnes into orbit, is intended to replace the Proton M rocket, a mainstay of Russian space missions since the mid-1960s.

Despite its critical importance to national security, as emphasized by Putin, the Angara project has encountered numerous manufacturing and technical setbacks. In a notable visit in September, Putin hosted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, famously dubbed "rocket man" by former U.S. President Donald Trump, at the Vostochny Cosmodrome. Putin reported that Kim exhibited "great interest in rocket engineering," underscoring the cosmodrome's growing significance in international aerospace discussions.

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