Russia has succesfully launched its massive Angara 5 rocket.
The spacecraft is the first new rocket to be developed by Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Angara 5 was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northwest Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin tuned in to watch the blast off and spoke of its importance to the Russian space programme: “I thank all who participated in the work, engineers, designers and military servicemen. The task has been fulfilled with perfect precision. Your success has shown that Russia remains one of world leaders in space research.
The Angara 5 has the capacity to carry a maximum payload of 25 tonnes and change its configuration to suit the mission,either blasting off as a two or three stage rocket.
The development will ensure that Russia now has independent access to space.