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Launch of new Russian space rocket aborted

MOSCOW (AP) — The first launch of Russia’s new space rocket after two decades of development has been aborted moments before its blastoff as President Vladimir Putin was watching via live feed.

Friday’s botched attempt to launch the Angara booster rocket was the latest mishap to dog Russia’s troubled space industries, whose Soviet-era glory has faded in a series of launch failures.

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a ceremony of the presentation of credentials, in the Grand Kremlin Palace in Moscow, Friday, June 27, 2014. (AP Photo/Yuri Kadobnov, Pool)

Angara is built to replace the Soyuz, a workhorse of the Soviet and then Russian space program, designed more than four decades ago.

Space officials said that an automatic safety system aborted the rocket’s blastoff from the Plesetsk launch pad in northwestern Russia for an unspecified reason. Putin ordered Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to investigate and report the cause.

The launch was tentatively put off until Saturday.

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