Russia’s new Angara heavy space rocket took two decades to fly once. Its December 2014 launch sparked a media circus in Russia, with a second launch promised sometime in 2017. Now, it seems, Russia will have to wait until 2018 before seeing a second flight.
“We have rescheduled the launch to 2018,” Andrey Kalinovsky, the head of Russia’s Khrunichev state rocket company, which builds the Angara rocket, told the Kommersant newspaper on Wednesday.
“The reason for the delay is pretty mundane: we are moving production [from outside Moscow] to [the Siberian city of] Omsk, and we agreed with the Defense Ministry to do more testing at the production site.”
The next launch of the heavy version of the Angara rocket, known as the A5, is not the only part of the program to be delayed.
A smaller version of the rocket, the Angara 1.2, has also seen its second launch delayed. It won’t fly again till 2019, Kalinovsky said. The rocket first flew in June 2014.
The Angara 1.2 had been slated to enter service in 2020, before the A5. It is not clear how this schedule will be affected.