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Russia aborts second attempt at space rocket launch

Staff WritersAP
The Angara-A5's launch from the Vostochny spaceport was cancelled about two minutes before lift-off. (AP PHOTO)
Camera IconThe Angara-A5's launch from the Vostochny spaceport was cancelled about two minutes before lift-off. (AP PHOTO) Credit: AP

Russia has aborted the second attempt to test-launch a new heavy-lift rocket from its far eastern space complex.

The launch of the Angara-A5 rocket from the Vostochny spaceport was cancelled about two minutes before its planned time on Wednesday.

State news agency RIA-Novosti said the cause was a failure of the pressurisation system for the oxidiser tank of the central block of the rocket.

National space agency Roscosmos said another launch attempt will be postponed for at least one day.

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The first attempt on Tuesday also failed because the automatic safety system registered a flaw in the oxidiser tank pressurisation system, said Roscosmos head Yuri Borisov.

The launch was to be the fourth for the Angara-A5, a heavy-lift version of the new Angara family of rockets that has been developed to replace the Soviet-designed Proton rockets.

The previous three launches were carried out from the Plesetsk launchpad in north-western Russia.

After the 1991 break-up of the Soviet Union, Russia leased the Baikonur Cosmodrome from Kazakhstan and continued to use it for most of its space launches.

The agreement with Kazakhstan allows Russia to keep leasing Baikonur through to 2050.

While Roscosmos has continued to rely on Baikonur, Russian authorities have developed Vostochny as the facility of choice for Angara launches.

The construction of the new spaceport has dragged on for longer than planned and it has seen only limited use so far.

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