Russia on Monday successfully tested its heavy Angara A5 space rocket after a six-year hiatus in a project that President Vladimir Putin describes as of immense significance for national security.
First test-launched in 2014, it is being developed to replace the Proton M as Russia’s heavy lift rocket, capable of carrying payloads greater than 20 tons into orbit. A launch site for the new rocket is set to open in 2021.
The Angara, however, has been plagued by manufacturing delays and technical problems, including the discovery last year of a defect in its engines that scientists said could destroy it in flight.
Defense and space agency Roscosmos said Monday’s launch of the Plesetsk spaceport in the northwestern country was a success, however.
Roscosmos has suffered a series of setbacks and corruption scandals in recent years, including during the construction of the Vostochny spaceport in the far east of the country, where contractors have been accused of stealing state money.