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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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