The date of the maiden launch of Russia’s new Angara rocket has been set for June 25, an official with the Russian Space Agency told RIA Novosti Friday.
“The launch is set for June 25, with the 26th as a backup date,” the official said.
He added the rocket would be fired without an orbital payload from the Plesetsk space center, located about 800 kilometers north of Moscow.
The Angara family of rockets, in development since 1995, is planned to be built in light, semi-heavy and heavy versions to lift a variety of payloads between 2 and 40 metric tons into low earth orbit.
The rocket has a liquid-oxygen and kerosene powered first stage and hydrogen-oxygen fueled second stage, so-called “green” fuels that will make the rocket both more ecologically friendly and safer for support personnel than the country’s current largest rocket, the Proton.
Angara is designed to complement the country’s venerable Soyuz rocket, currently the only vehicle in the world capable of launching astronauts to the International Space Station