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Angara Launch Postponed Indefinitely

Published: June 30, 2014 (Issue # 1817)



  • Soldier guarding Angara during its rollout to the launch pad at Plesetsk on June 25.
    Photo: Ministry of Defense

Russian space officials have not yet identified the cause of Friday's last-minute postponement of the Angara rocket launch, and won't set a new launch date until the vehicle has been fixed, a space industry spokesperson said.

The rocket's flight computer automatically canceled the launch just 15 seconds before liftoff on Friday.

A spokesman from the Khrunichev Space Center, the prime contractor for the Angara rocket program, said that the State Commission — a body of officials that gives the final authorization for all major Russian space activities — will meet in the near future to look into the rocket's aborted launch, Interfax reported Monday.

The spokesman added that engineers are now checking a problem with the first stage propulsion system.

Earlier on Monday, RIA Novosti cited an unidentified Russian space industry source as saying that Angara's flight computer detected a leak in an oxidizer valve — a critical element in the rocket's propulsion system.

The Russian media were set to make an impressive show of Angara's launch on Friday, as the rocket's fate will act as a litmus test of Russia's post-Soviet space capabilities. The beleaguered space program has survived for the past 20 years by modernizing tried-and-true Soviet-era designs.

Media reports in the wake of Friday's failure suggested that there would be a second attempt on Saturday, but that launch window came and went, accompanied by even more silence from space officials.

An unidentified source told RIA Novosti that the rocket was being taken off of the launch pad that day for further investigation.

Although new rockets tend to be beset with difficulties during their first launches, Khrunichev's ability to build reliable rockets has been questioned frequently amid a series of embarrassing failures suffered by the normally-dependable Proton rocket since 2010. Recently, a Roscosmos deputy described the situation at the Khrunichev as "a serious systemic crisis."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Sept. 19


SPIBA’s newest addition to their Cultural Discoveries events is “Handmade in Germany,” an exhibition featuring unique handmade objects of a significantly higher quality than mass-produced items. The work of over 100 German manufacturers will be displayed during the event, which opens today in the Lutheran Church of Saint Peter and Paul on Nevsky Prospekt and runs through Sept. 28.



Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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