Russia may delay launch of "Angara" rocket due to funding cuts

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Russian space officials have said that the launch of the new Angara carrier rocket might be delayed for about a year due to lack of funds. Anatoly Perminov, head of the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos, made the announcement today.

"There is a serious delay in the construction of launch facilities [for Angara] due to the shortage of financing from the Defense Ministry. The problem is that this is not in our control, we are doing everything that we can on our part," Perminov said. He noted that the ministry didn't completely cut the budget, but lowered it substantially.

Launch facilities for the rocket were initially to be made ready by 2010, with the launch scheduled for the year after that. Perminov commented that the rocket itself was being constructed on schedule.

The Angara rocket, which is being constructed by the Khrunichev center, is intended to transport heavy loads of up to 24.5 metric tons into orbit, but with a low level of impact on the environment. They will be used for both military and civilian purposes, and are to be used in joint space station projects and for launching satellites into orbit.