Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, as he watches a launch of Angara-A5 rocket booster at Plesetsk Cosmodrome by live video link in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014.
MOSCOW (AP) — Russia has successfully tested a new, heavy load space rocket after a long and strenuous development.
President Vladimir Putin watched Tuesday's launch of the Angara -A5 booster rocket via a video link in the Kremlin. He hailed the test as a proof of Russia's role as a leader in space exploration. The rocket's launch comes after two decades of development. The previous attempt to launch it in June was aborted moments before the blast off due to a technical problem.
Angara is built to replace the Soyuz, a workhorse of the Soviet and then Russian space program, designed more than four decades ago. Following the retirement of the U.S. space shuttles, Soyuz currently serves as the only way to deliver crews to the International Space Station