Angara core booster prepared for 2008 test firing

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Preparations for test firing the Moscow-based Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center's Angara rocket's common core booster (CCB) first stage have begun at the Peresvet-based Chemical Machine Building Research and Scientific Institute.

The Angara family is a group of proposed launch vehicles that use a liquid oxygen- and kerosene-fuelled RD-191M engine to power the CCB. The lightweight Angara vehicles 1.1 and 1.2 will use one CCB to place 2,000kg (4,400lb) and 3,700kg into a low Earth orbit respectively. The company's published data does not give figures for higher orbits for 1.1. and 1.2. The medium-class Angara A3 is designed to lift 2,400kg into a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO) and the heavyweight A5 version, 6,600kg into GTO. Five CCBs are integrated into the -A5 variant.

The CCB first stage was transferred from Khrunichev to the test site in August. Test firings are planned to start next year.

"The first stage of the Angara launch vehicle [has been] erected to vertical position [for the tests]", says Khrunichev.

The Angara launch sites are to be located at the northern Russian Plesetsk cosmodrome and at the yet-to-be built Baiterek complex in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The rocket's design enables any member of the family to be launched from the same pad.

The 1.1 will use Khrunichev's Breeze-KM upper stage, while the heavyweight Angara A5 will be able to use either the Breeze-M, which uses hypergolics, or the planned liquid oyxgen-, liquid hydrogen-fuelled KVRB upper stages.