Flight tests of new carrier rockets of the Angara family, which were developed at the Khrunichev State Space Scientific-Industrial Center, will begin on the Plesetsk cosmodrome in 2003. This was said at a briefing in the press center of the Izvestia newspaper by Alexander Medvedev, general director of the Khrunichev center. He said that the first to be flight tested will be light Angara rockets. Simultaneously, in the making in Plesetsk will be an infrastructure for launching medium and heavy Angara boosters, which will be test flown in 2005-2006. Medvedev stressed that the light Angara is a basically new development of the Russian space technology. After blast-off the rocket's first stage will not be merely separated but on its own wings, like an aircraft, return to the preset site for repeated reuse. "There are no such systems in Europe or the United States", said Medvedev. Speaking of the heavy Angara, the Khrunichev general director stressed that its first stage will be powered by the new heavy-duty engine RD-191. Its firing tests are now under way near Moscow.
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