SpaceX to carry military payloads as US phases out Russian rocket engines
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (Sputnik) Feb 10, 2016
The United States plans to certify American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX to carry its national security payloads into space and has so far been 'encouraged' by the approach the company has taken to replace Russian rocket engines, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
The National Intelligence chief said that Washington's plan would be to "certify SpaceX for carrying our national security payloads into space."
"My interest is in seeing to it that our overhead reconnaissance constellation is replenished and replenished on time, and there is a capability with the Delta which you allude, is we think from our standpoint ... both effective and cost efficient and I certainly do agree on [the] fundamental American tenant of competition, that's why I'm quite encouraged by the aggressive approach that SpaceX has taken," Clapper said when asked whether Washington needed to stop its dependency on Russian rocket engines.
Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines fire the first stage of the US Atlas V launch vehicle, used in the majority of the US military space launches.
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act prevents the United Launch Alliance, which provides spacecraft launch services to the US government, from completing the acquisition of 18 engines ordered before the US imposed sanctions on Russia.
Source: Sputnik News
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