* Successful launch comes after embarrassing botch first try
on live TV
* New rocket aims to end reliance on Kazakh launch pad
* Decades in the making, Angara part of space industry
(Changes sourcing, adds background)
By Alissa de Carbonnel
MOSCOW, July 9 Russia launched its first new
design of space rocket since the Soviet era from the northern
military site of Plesetsk on Wednesday, aiming to break its
reliance on foreign suppliers as well as the Baikonur cosmodrome
The Angara rocket's quiet debut was in marked contrast to a
live broadcast of an embarrassing aborted first launch attempt
watched by President Vladimir Putin from the Kremlin.
"Angara is here!" tweeted Russian Deputy Prime Minister
Dmitry Rogozin after the successful flight of a rocket that was
more than two decades in the works.
The new generation rockets - designed to carry a full range
of civilian and military payloads - are a key to Putin's effort
to reform a once-pioneering space industry hobbled by years of
budget cuts and a brain drain in the 1990s.
The Angara-1.2PP trial rocket blasted off at 4 p.m. Moscow
time (1200 GMT) on a 21 minute suborbital flight 5,700 km (3540
miles) across Russia's Arctic coast line, the Russian Defence
Ministry said in a statement.
Images of the pencil-thin Angara-1.2PP trial rocket powered
by an orange jet flame into the cloudy skies were later shown on
Russian state television.
"This is an entirely new rocket," Alexander Golovko,
commander of Russia's Air and Space Defence Forces told the
channel. "It has proved its ability."
Work on the Angara began after the break-up of the Soviet
Union when Moscow lost the maker of its Zenit and Dnepr rockets
as well as the Baikonur launch site, based respectively in the
newly independent republics of Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
For some industry insiders, the crisis in Moscow's relations
with Ukraine over its annexation of Crimea proves Russia's need
to produce and launch its rockets domestically.
"We are disentangling ourselves from our dependence on other
states for military launches," said Igor Marinin, editor of the
trade journal Novosti Kosmonavtiki.
FIRST RUSSIAN ROCKET
The Angara rocket is the first entirely designed and built
within post-Soviet Russia's borders - ordered by then President
Boris Yeltsin in the 1990s.
"Everything else we have is a modernisation of our Soviet
legacy," Russian space industry expert Igor Lissov said.
A potential commercial rival to Arianespace of France and
Californian-based SpaceX, a heavier version of the modular
launcher is designed to replace Russia's workhorse Proton
rocket, which has suffered an embarrassing litany of failures.
That model is due to tested later this year.
Unlike the Proton, powered by toxic hydrazine fuel, Angara
uses an ecologically cleaner mix of liquid oxygen and kerosene.
Industry experts estimate its development has cost billions
of dollars, and the Angara rockets will only become commercially
viable in another decade if launched from a new Vostochny
cosmodrome Russia is building in the far east.
Angara - named after a Siberian river - is made by the same
builder, the Khrunichev space centre, as the ill-fated Proton.
"Twenty years of development is over but we are at the very
beginning of the flight testing," Anatoly Zak, editor of the
Russianspaceweb.com industry news site.
The designer of the first stage RD-191 engine, Energomash,
blamed the failure on its first trial launch on a drop in the
pressure of the liquid oxygen tank.
(Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Ralph Boulton)