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Russia's pioneer booster rocket Soyuz 2-1A will have a first test launch at the Plesetsk space centre
Russia's pioneer booster rocket Soyuz 2-1A will have a first test launch at the Plesetsk space centre, 16.30, Moscow time, tomorrow, November 6, a spokesman of the Russian Space Troops said to Novosti. The rocket will orbit an Oblik (Image) spacecraft of Russian design and manufacture, Valeri Abrashkin of the Progress bureau said to Novosti on a previous occasion. He is branch vice-manager at this specialised central R&D bureau, based in Samara on the Volga. The Oblik satellite was built many years ago, and stayed unlaunched for sheer lack of money. In fact, it is a dummy cargo, with the warranty period long expired. The Oblik, however, has an impressive choice of test gadgetry. Thus, its cutting-edge vibration and temperature gauges will check the performance of updated first- and second-stage engines, said Mr. Abrashkin. First in a new Soyuz generation, the 2-1A rocket has an enlarged, four metre long, head-end cone, which allows to increase orbited payload by 300 kilograms. Russia will shortly build a launching pad at the Kourou space centre, French Guiana. It will cater for updated Soyuzes, of the STK make-but not before several successful launches are made from Russian-based pads, and necessary flight records become available, says Valeri Abrashkin
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