Russia has launched a test flight of the country’s Angara A5 heavy-lift launch vehicle carrying a demonstration payload.
The second test flight of the heavy-lift Angara A5 was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome at 05:50 UTC on December 14. Approximately 12 minutes after liftoff, the rocket’s Briz-M upper stage and a demonstration payload representing the size and weight of a geostationary satellite were deployed into orbit.
Following a successful demonstration of the launch vehicle’s ability to deploy payloads into a geostationary orbit, the demonstration payload still attached to the Briz-M upper stage was boosted into a graveyard orbit.
With the completion of its second test flight, Russia plans to begin commercial flights of the Angara family of rockets in 2021. The country plans to launch a total of two Angara missions next year, said the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.
Designed to replace the Proton-M, the Angara A5 consists of two stages with four strap-on boosters and an optional third stage. The vehicle’s development began in the late 1990s and has suffered a number of delays due to technical and funding issues.
The Angara A5 is designed to deploy approximately 22,000 kilograms into low Earth orbit, which is equivalent to a Block 5 SpaceX Falcon 9. It was launched on its maiden flight in December 2014 carrying a demonstration payload that, like this morning’s launch, was later boosted into a graveyard orbit a few hundred kilometres above geostationary orbit.