Moscow, April 25 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The Russian military expects the first launch of a new Angara carrier rocket to take place in 2014 after the construction of a new launch complex at the Plesetsk space centre is completed.
The Angara rockets, designed to provide lifting capabilities of between 2,000 and 40,500 kg into low earth orbit, have been in development since 1995.
"We are hoping for 2014. But it all depends on the industry - how fast they can build the rocket," Deputy Defence Minister Col. Gen. Oleg Ostapenko said.
The maiden launch of the light-class Angara was previously expected in 2013.
The Angara rockets have a modular design similar to the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV), based on a common Universal Rocket Module (URM).
The main purpose of the Angara rocket family is to give Russia independent access to space.
The rockets will reduce Russia's dependence on the Baikonur space centre it leases from Kazakhstan by allowing the launch of heavy payloads from the Plesetsk space centre in northern Russia and from the new Vostochny space centre in Russia's far east.
Ostapenko also said that the timeframe for the launch of a Soyuz-2.1V lightweight rocket will be determined in May, as the test launch scheduled for 2013 has been postponed due to an accident during the firing tests of the rocket's engines.