Adapted from a report by Russian Information Agency Novosti Oct. 12, 2007

The Angara next-generation launch vehicle will begin testing on schedule in 2011, according to a Russian first deputy prime minister.

"There will be no schedule revision," said Sergei Ivanov, at a meeting of the Military-Industrial Commission under the Russian Government. "The tests must begin in 2011."

The Angara rocket is a new generation of Russian modular launch vehicles, being developed by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. The Angara development program was established by presidential decree in 1995. Ivanov noted that the launch ground facilities would be completed in July-August 2010, and that the first launch tests should be conducted in the first quarter of 2011.

"We must not fall back in the global space race," Ivanov said. The Angara rocket, together with Soyuz-2 spacecraft, will guarantee Russia's access to space in the future, he added.

Angara's design is intended to complement, and eventually replace, the existing line of Rockot and Proton boosters. It will be used both for military and civilian purposes under the Federal Space Program and various international space programs. Angara engines will be fueled with an environmentally friendly liquid oxygen-kerosene mixture. The Angara family will have lightweight, medium-, and heavy-lift variants. The maximum launch weight is 773 metric tons, with a payload of up to 24.5 tons, and an orbit altitude of 200 km (124 miles).

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