The first launch of Russia's flagship Angara space rocket has been automatically stopped minutes before take-off
Russia has postponed Friday’s historic test launch of an Angara space rocket, Russia Today reports. The second attempt will take place Saturday.
The Defense Ministry said the launch was automatically stopped just moments before countdown. Reports from Russian space agency Roscosmos claim “technical issues” are to blame for the scrapped launch.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who had been due to watch the launch from the Kremlin via video link, reportedly told Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu: “Carefully analyze everything and report to me after an hour.” So far, no further details of the failure have emerged.
The Angara rocket, which has been in development since 1994, is Russia’s first new rocket design since the fall of the U.S.S.R. The program has already cost Russia over 100 billion rubles, or $3 billion.
Russia hopes the Angara rocket could revitalize Russia’s once-pioneering space industry, which has suffered several funding cuts.
The rocket was due to be launched from a base in Mirny, 500 miles north of Moscow. From there it would have traveled to a new spaceport in Kamchatka, a peninsula in Russia’s Far East, reaching it in an estimated 21 minutes.