Russia hopes to launch the beefed-up version of its brand new Angara rocket — the first Russian rocket of post-Soviet design to be successfully tested — sometime around Christmas, marking an important stage in the revitalization of Russia's space industry.
"The Defense Ministry will determine the launch date," a senior Russian space official told Interfax on Monday, "but today it is slated for sometime after Dec. 25."
The official, who went unnamed, reinforced earlier statements by Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov, who said the launch would take place in December. But the official cautioned that the federal space agency's primary concern is a successful launch, and that there is no strict launch date. If more work needs to be done, then more work will be done before attempting a launch.
The version of Angara that will launch in December is a heavy-lift Angara. This configuration consists of five Angara rockets, like the one tested in July, strapped together to achieve greater lifting capacity.