The Khrunichev Space Center shipped the first flight model of the lightweight Angara 1.2 rocket to Plesetsk Cosmodrome May 28 in preparation for its inaugural launch next year.

The Angara family is a new generation of modular rockets that has been in development at Moscow-based Khrunichev since the mid-1990s. Based on the LOX/Kerosene-powered URM-1 Common Core Booster (CCB), the Angara product line is designed to carry payloads weighing 3,800 kg-35,000 kg (8,400 lb.-77,000 lb.) to low Earth orbit. A single CCB will power the Angara 1.2, while the heavy-lift Angara A7 will require up to seven boosters.

Khrunichev says it is also continuing work on the heavy-lift Angara A5 launch vehicle, which it expects to ship to Plesetsk in November. The company says the Angara project is being personally managed by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.

The Angara family’s modular design is aimed at allowing the rockets to launch from the same pad, either at Plesetsk in northern Russia or the new Vostochny space center in the country’s far east. The new rockets are aimed at reducing Moscow’s dependence on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in neighboring Kazakhstan to launch heavy payloads to orbit.