Russia’s Angara A5 rocket blasts off into space after two aborted launches

Russia has launched its Angara A5 rocket from a space facility in the country’s far east after technical glitches prompted officials to abort missions at the last minute for two days in a row.

Thursday’s launch of the new space vehicle is intended to showcase Russia’s post-Soviet space ambitions, and the growing role played by the Vostochny Cosmodrome, which is located in the forests of the Amur region bordering China.

Launch attempts on Tuesday and Wednesday were cancelled due to a failure in a pressurising system in an oxidiser tank and in the engine control system, according to Russian space agency Roscosmos.

Minutes after takeoff, the rocket was travelling at more than 25,000 kilometres per hour and entered orbit.

“With this launch, flight design tests of the Amur space rocket complex with Angara heavy-class launch vehicles on Vostochny began,” Roscosmos announced on social media.

“The rocket worked according to plan. The upper stage separated … and is currently putting the test payload into target orbit.”


ISS rival eyed

Russia began the Angara project a few years after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union as a Russian-made launch vehicle that would ensure access to space even without the Baikonur Cosmodrome which it rents from Kazakhstan.The development of the Angara A5, a heavy booster rocket designed to ferry tonnes of equipment into space, has been beset by delays.

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