Russia test-launches Angara A5 heavy lift space rocket

This photo taken on Dec. 14, 2020, and distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service shows, a test launch of a heavy-class carrier rocket Angara-A5 from the launch pad of site No. 35 of the State Test Cosmodrome of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation at Plesetsk launch facility in the Arkhangelsk Region of northwestern Russia. The Angara-A5 is the prospective heavy-lift rocket that is expected to enter service in the following years. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia on Monday successfully test-launched its heavy lift Angara A5 space rocket for the second time, the country’s military and space officials said.

The rocket lifted off Monday morning from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northwest Russia.

“It flies, damn it!” Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, tweeted after the launch.

Its first successful test launch took place in 2014 and was hailed by Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a major achievement for our space rocket industry and for Russia in general.”

Angara A5 is designed to replace the Proton M heavy lift rocket, but its development and manufacturing has been plagued by delays and technical problems.

Roscosmos on Monday touted the increased environmental safety of the Angara rockets, as they “do not use aggressive and toxic propellants, significantly increasing environmental safety both in the areas adjacent to the launch complex and in the drop zones.”

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