Russia Blasts Off Its Next-Gen Heavy-Lift Rocket, Eyeing a Top Position in the Space Race

It’s been a spectacular year for space missions, ending on a high note with the launch of the sensational James Webb telescope. We’ve seen the UK gearing up to become one of the top players in this booming industry, and Russia isn’t backing down either. Behind the scenes, it’s preparing to soon launch rockets from a second space launch site on a regular basis.
The previous flight of the Angara A5 took place in December 2020 6 photos
Photo: Roscosmos
Angara A5Angara A5Angara A5Angara A5Angara A5
While everyone’s eyes are on the adventures of the James Webb telescope, Russia performed a third demonstration flight of its Angara A5 rocket. This is not only the newest heavy launch vehicle designed and built by Russia after the fall of the USSR 30 years ago, but it also has a strategic importance.

According to NASA, the new rocket was meant to be launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, which meant that the country would no longer rely exclusively on the Baikonur one. Having more space launch sites is essential for ensuring a significant presence in space.

It’s been a very long road for the Angara rocket, which started its development process in 1992. The first model conducted the first launch 22 years after the project began. The Angara A5, which is the heavy-lift variant, was also launched in 2014 from Plesetsk. Its second flight would only come six years later.

The demonstration conducted on December 27 marks Angara A5’s third flight. The rocket was supposed to deliver a 5,291-lb (2,400 kg) payload to the near geostationary orbit (GEO). The mass simulator represented a geostationary communications satellite that was meant to be placed in what is called a “graveyard orbit.” However, it seems that the Persei upper stage only reached the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) before an engine failure caused it to stop.

Although technically there was a Persei failure, which NASA says could call for additional tests, the Angara A5 rocket completed the three demonstrations flights that confirm its operational status. Three more flights are scheduled for 2022. In a short time, Russia hopes to be launching as many as 20 Angara A5 rockets per year, Zenger reports.

If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
About the author: Otilia Drăgan
Otilia Drăgan profile photo

Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
Full profile


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories