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MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. The first launch of the heavy-lift Angara-A5 rocket from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northwest Russia is scheduled for December 25, according to the initial plans, a high-ranking source in the Russian rocket and space industry told TASS on Wednesday.
“The rocket will most likely be launched on December 25 in the morning,” the source said. He confirmed that the launch will be carried out between 09:00am to 14:00pm Moscow time.
Weighing 773 metric tons (852 tons) when filled with kerosene, liquid oxygen and hypergolic propellants, the Angara 5 is the biggest Russian launcher to debut since the Energia rocket for the Soviet Union’s Buran space shuttle flew in the late 1980s.
The source also said that the state commission that will determine the exact date and time of the launch had not met yet.
According to previous reports, the launch window for the heavy Angara rocket was determined between December 20 and 30. As the first test launch, the blastoff will be conducted by the rocket operational availability. A number of media previously reported that the launch was planned for December 22. A TASS source in the industry said that the launch window for the Angara rocket was open from December 22 to 26.
The heavy-lift Angara 5 rocket is due to replace Russia’s Proton launcher to haul the country’s heaviest satellites into orbit. Manufactured by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center — the Proton’s prime contractor — the Angara 5 is also slated to compete for commercial satellite launches on the global market.
The Angara 5 can place up to 24.5 metric tons — about 54,000 pounds — into a 120-mile-high orbit. On missions with communications satellites heading for geostationary transfer orbit, an Angara 5 rocket can lift up to 5.4 metric tons, or about 11,900 pounds, according to Khrunichev.