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US space firm supports need to ease Russian rocket engines ban
by Staff Writers
Moscow, Russia (Sputnik) Jun 05, 2015

File image.

The US space company United Launch Alliance (ULA) supports US Air Force secretary's view on the need to ease the ban on Russian rocket engines, ULA spokeswoman told Sputnik on Thursday.

On Wednesday, US media reported that the Pentagon is in favor of easing the US ban on Russian-made space rocket engines, imposed over the crisis in Ukraine. In April, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated that the ban could pose an obstacle for US space launch capabilities.

Commenting on the ULA stance on the ban, Jessica Rye pointed to US Air Force secretary, who "accurately pointed out that the United States cannot afford a gap in the nation's launch capability. The Secretary stated that a clarification in the FY'15 National Defense Authorization Act is needed in order to ensure the nation responsibly transitions from the RD-180 to a domestic alternative in a way that does not impact the launch of our national security payloads."

The United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin venture providing rocket launch services to the US government, uses the Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power the Atlas V launch vehicles into space.

The Russian-built RD-180, the successor to the Soviet RD-170, was first installed on a US Atlas III launch vehicle in 2000. It is now routinely used on Atlas V carrier rockets.

On May 15, US Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain stated that the United States plans to manufacture its own rocket launcher engine in order to replace RD-180s by 2017.

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US Air Force Launches Competition to Replace Russian Rocket Engines
Moscow (Sputnik) Jun 04, 2015
The US Air Force formally kicked off a contest for the development of new rocket propulsion systems which would replace Russian-built RD-180 engines, Lieutenant General Samuel Greaves, Chief of the Air Force's Space and Missiles Systems Center, said on Wednesday. The RD-180 engine used for powering the Atlas 5 rocket has no US-made analogues so far. According to the general, the prog ... read more

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