Lightweight Soyuz rocket`s launch delayed
Moscow: The first launch of Russia`s new Soyuz-2.1V lightweight carrier rocket, scheduled for early 2013, has now been delayed until the second half of 2013, rocket-maker Progress said.
"The first launch of the Soyuz-2.1V rocket has been preliminarily scheduled for the second half of this year," Progress design bureau`s general director Alexander Kirilin said.
He did not specify the reasons for the delay.
Russia originally planned to launch the first Soyuz-2.1V in October 2012 but that was postponed after a failed ground test of its first-stage engines in August, Progress said.
In December 2012, the commander of Russia`s Aerospace Defense Forces, Major General Alexander Golovko, said the first Soyuz 2.1V launch would take place at the start of 2013.
The new rocket is a modernised version of the Soyuz-2.1B, from which the Soyuz rocket`s trademark four external booster rockets have been removed.
The first stage is equipped with a rocket engine derived from the legendary NK-33, according to the Plesetsk cosmodrome website.
The NK-33 was developed in the 1970s to carry Soviet cosmonauts to the moon onboard the giant N1 rocket.
The rocket is capable of delivering a payload of up to 2.85 tonnes to an orbit at an altitude of 200 km, Progress claims.
Soyuz-2.1V launches may be carried out from upgraded launch pads at the Plesetsk Space Center in northwestern Russia and the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan.
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