In the meantime, Russia continues to work on its Angara rocket family, the modular design of which is aimed in part at reducing Moscow’s dependence on Baikonur to launch heavy payloads. The new generation of rockets includes a heavy-lift variant that could replace Proton by the end of the decade and will be able to launch from both the Plesetsk launch site in northern Russia and the new Vostochny space center being developed in the country’s far east.
Khrunichev shipped the first flight model of the lightweight Angara 1.2 rocket to Plesetsk Cosmodrome May 28 in preparation for its inaugural launch next year. Khrunichev says it is also continuing work on the heavy-lift Angara A5, which it expects to ship to Plesetsk in November.
ILS had planned 12 Proton launches in 2013, but it says the launch failure investigation and review of the findings will delay upcoming missions, including the July 20 launch of Astra 2F for commercial fleet operator SES.
See video of the July 2 Proton M launch failure on our OnSpace blog at ow.ly/mCWpE