First test flight of Angara is officially postponed


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It’s official: The first flight of Angara has been postponed for at least a week or more.

“The rocket will be removed from the launchpad and transferred to a technical stand for comprehensive analysis,” RIA quoted the Khrunichev center as saying, adding the new launch time would only be decided after the checks.

Though no information was released that describes the cause of the scrub, that they are going to give the rocket a major look-over suggests that at least one of the problems reported by Anthony Zak at Russianspaceweb are likely true. To quote him again:

According to a veteran of Baikonur Cosmodrome and the Russian space historian Vladimir Antipov, the scrub at that moment could indicate a failure in the pneumatic and hydraulic system activating the rocket’s propulsion system. A screenshot of the launch countdown clock, which had surfaced on the Internet, indicated a scrub at T-1 minute 19.7 seconds. It then transpired that the loss of pressure in a flexible gas line of the propulsion system caused the delay.

It could take as long as a week to fix the problem, industry sources said on the Novosti Kosmonavtiki web forum. GKNPTs Khrunichev, the Angara’s manufacturer then posted a one-line press-release saying that the date of the next launch attempt would be announced later.

According to other sources, a valve on the oxidizer line failed, which could require to return the rocket to the assembly building, to cut out the device and weld in the new valve. Due to a built-in nature of the valve, the return of the rocket to the manufacturing plant in Moscow could also be required, likely postponing the mission for weeks.

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