Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

Why Washington cannot ban Russia's RD-180 rocket engines
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) May 03, 2016

File image.

There are at least four reasons why Washington should not ban Russian RD-180 engines, Loren B. Thompson and Constance Baroudos of the Lexington Institute pointed out. Whether US Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, likes it or not, Washington is unlikely to ban Russian RD-180 rocket engines anytime soon, and with good reason.

Although US hawks are fuming over the Pentagon's dependence on the Russian engines, it would be dangerous to get rid of them right now, Loren B. Thompson and Constance Baroudos of the Lexington Institute underscore, adding that there are at least four reasons not to ban RD-180s right away.

Firstly, if the Pentagon abandons the RD-180 engines the cost of launching key satellites will skyrocket, the US scholars explain.

"Russian engines are used on the Atlas rocket, the workhorse of the US space fleet. The only alternative for launching big satellites into high orbit is Delta, which costs about a third more per launch," they write, stressing that it will cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars to meet military needs in space if the Russian rocket engines aren't available.

Secondly, the much praised SpaceX rockets, which were recently certified for military launches, "can't reach four of the eight critical military orbits." It means that 40 percent of the Pentagon's launches will have to go on much more expensive Deltas and again it will require billions of taxpayer dollars.

Thirdly, by banning the Russian RD-180 engines "too soon" Washington will shoot itself in the foot: "Any problems with Delta would leave the US with no way to get missile warning and spy satellites into orbit," Thompson and Baroudos emphasize.

And fourthly, much to the Pentagon's regret "rockets don't grow on trees, they take time to build." Indeed, if Russian engines were jettisoned, the US Defense Department would need more Deltas which have not been budgeted. Needless to say, it will take considerable time to build new Delta rockets.

In a word, "banning Russian rocket engines too soon will cost taxpayers billions of dollars for no good reason, make our nation less safe... and maybe unravel the whole military space program," the US scholars insist, adding that although Washington needs to get rid of the RD-180 engines in the long run, banning them right away "makes no sense."

Interestingly enough, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, well known for his anti-Russia rhetoric, also admits that the Pentagon has no other alternative than the RD-180s.

"We can hold our noses, buy RD-180s until that situation is created and fly Atlases with RD-180s. The alternative is to fly our payloads on Delta, which is technically feasible, but much more expensive. And so that is the choice. And we have chosen the choice of going Atlas, recognizing the distasteful fact that it necessitates purchases of up to 18 more RD-180 engines," Carter said before a Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee.

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin echoed Carter's stance: "There's a belief on the authorizing committee that we should stop cold, not buy any more of these Russian engines. What I have heard from the Department of Defense is that would leave the United States vulnerable."

But that is not all. The US Congress Armed Services Committee voted Thursday to double the purchase of the Russian rocket engines.

Republican Congressman Mike Coffman from the state of Colorado, the author of the amendment, argued that the purchase of 18 RD-180s instead of nine would provide to the Pentagon "assured access to space" which is critical to US national security.

Regardless of Washington's latest anti-Russian rhetoric, it turns out that the RD-180 rocket engines have become "indispensible" to the Pentagon.

Source: Sputnik News

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
Johns Hopkins researchers aim for safer, more efficient rocket engines
Baltimore MD (SPX) Apr 29, 2016
The U.S. Air Force has awarded two contracts totaling $1.48 million to the Energetics Research Group, based within Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering, to help set the stage for the next generation of U.S.-made rocket engines. The funding will be used to reduce risks associated with new technologies that may replace the Russian-made RD-180 engine. This rocket engine, w ... read more

First rocket made ready for launch at Vostochny spaceport

Supernova iron found on the moon

Russia to shift all Lunar launches to Vostochny Cosmodrome

Lunar lava tubes could help pave way for human colony

Although Boiling, Water Does Shape Martian Terrain

Airbus DS to build STEM centre at its UK Exomars facility

Boiling water may be cause of Martian streaks: study

Opportunity robotic arm camera passes diagnostic test

US to move more assets into deep space over next 4 years

Simulators give astronauts glimpse of future flights

When technology bites back

Menstruation in spaceflight: Options for astronauts

China's space technology extraordinary, impressive says Euro Space Center director

China can meet Chile's satellite needs: ambassador

China launches Kunpeng-1B sounding rocket

South China city gears up for satellite tourism

New landing date for ESA astronaut Tim Peake

Tim Peake goes roving

Russia delays space crew's return to Earth

15 years of Europe on the International Space Station

New small launch vehicles

Vector Space Systems aims to redefine space commerce

Spaceport Camden Partners with NASA Innovation Competition

SpaceX vows to send capsule to Mars by 2018

Three Earth-sized planets

Light Echoes Give Clues to Protoplanetary Disk

On the Road to Finding Other Earths

Kepler spacecraft recovered and returned to the K2 Mission

Sea urchin's teeth inspire new design for space exploration device

First Light For ESO's VLT Four Laser Guide Star Facility

Exploring phosphorene, a promising new material

Augmented games can increase the diversity of sports

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement