. 24/7 Space News .
US Rocketry Chief Offers Novel Explanation for Why America Continues to Buy Russia's RD-180 Engines
by Staff Writers
Moscow (Sputnik) Apr 17, 2020

stock image.

Nearly a decade after the decommissioning of the Space Shuttle programme, NASA and its allies continue to depend on Russian Soyuz rockets to take crews to the International Space Station. Meanwhile, Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines power the Atlas III and Atlas V launch vehicles amid continued delays in domestic US engine programmes.

The United States is buying Russian rocket engines not because of any problems with its domestic engine engineering programmes, but to subsidize Russian rocket scientists and to prevent them from seeking employment in Iran or North Korea, United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno has intimated.

"The [US government] asked us to buy [Russian engines] at the end of the Cold War in order to keep the Russian Rocket Scientists from ending up in North Korea and Iran," Bruno tweeted, responding to a question about what motivates ULA to continue buying the Russian-made RD-180s.

Asked why the US is continuing to use the engines so many years later, Bruno stressed that his first decision after becoming CEO of ULA in 2014 was "to start an American engine replacement." The official promised that that the engines would be used to power the next-gen Vulcan heavy lift vehicle next year, when that rocket is expected to make its maiden flight.

Commenting on Bruno's tweet, Roscosmos chief Dmitri Rogozin called it a "strange explanation."

"It turns out that a US company is buying our RD-180 engines not because they are the most efficient and reliable in their class (about 90 percent trouble-free launches on the Atlas rocket) but 'so that [our scientists/rockets] will not end up going to the Iranians and North Koreans'," Rogozin wrote.

Some of Bruno's followers similarly found the ULA chief's explanation incomplete, pointing out that the engine deal gave the US access to "oxygen-rich closed cycle engines, which the Soviets/Russians perfected, but the US hadn't," and that the US would be using this same technology for its new 'homegrown' Vulcan engine.

"For that kind of money, you could buy up all the Russian Rocket Scientists in bulk. And they definitely do not end up in North Korea and Iran," another user suggested, to which Bruno responded that "we do not buy people."

Since 1999, Lockheed Martin has used the RD-180 to power at least 86 Atlas III and Atlas V launch vehicles into orbit. According to Energomash, the engines' manufacturer, the US has now received well over 100 of the engines as of late 2019. Additionally, Energomash also produces the RD-181 for the Antares, an expendable rocket developed by Orbital Sciences Corporation, a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman.

US lawmakers began seeking to curb the purchase of RD-180s in 2014 amid the souring of Russian-US relations over the Ukraine crisis, and successfully passed a law obliging Washington to develop its own next-gen rocket system. However, these efforts have faced repeated setbacks, and the Senate has permitted US rocket makers to continue purchasing RD-180s until at least 2022.

The RD-180 is a derivative of the RD-170/17 series of rocket engines, created for the super-heavy Energiya launch vehicle, designed to shuttle up to 100 tonnes of cargo into low Earth orbit. It was this rocket that was used to launch the Buran shuttle into space. In the late 1980s, this rocket was envisioned as the potential launch vehicle that would help in the creation of more complex space stations and, eventually, even the assembly of large spacecraft capable of making flights to the Moon or Mars.

Source: RIA Novosti

Related Links
Rocket Science News
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Thanks for being there;
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 Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Scientific machine learning paves way for rapid rocket engine design
Austin TX (SPX) Apr 17, 2020
"It's not rocket science" may be a tired cliche, but that doesn't mean designing rockets is any less complicated. Time, cost and safety prohibit testing the stability of a test rocket using a physical build "trial and error" approach. But even computational simulations are extremely time consuming. A single analysis of an entire SpaceX Merlin rocket engine, for example, could take weeks, even months, for a supercomputer to provide satisfactory predictions. One group of researchers at The Universit ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Astronauts land back on Earth transformed by pandemic

NASA advances food-in-space technology

Insects, seaweed and lab-grown meat could be the foods of the future

ISS Nat Lab issues RFPs to leverage external facility for materials/device testing

Russia space chief spars with Elon Musk over launch pricing

Scientific machine learning paves way for rapid rocket engine design

NASA announces first SpaceX crewed flight for May 27

RocketShip delivers Delta IV Heavy boosters at VAFB

NASA's Curiosity Keeps Rolling As Team Operates Rover From Home

Mars Helicopter attached to Perseverance Mars rover

Choosing rocks on Mars to bring to Earth

NASA's Perseverance Mars rover gets its wheels and air brakes

Parachutes guide China's rocket debris safely to earth

China to launch IoT communications satellites named after Wuhan

China's experimental manned spaceship undergoes tests

China's Long March-7A carrier rocket fails in maiden flight

NewSpace Philosophies: Who, How, What?

Hong Kong Aerospace Technology Group prepares to launch their first satellite "Golden Bauhinia"

OneWeb goes bankrupt

Trump issues Executive Order supporting Space Resources utlization

Now metal surfaces can be instant bacteria killers

New clues to predict the risks astronauts will face from space radiation on long missions

New textile could keep you cool in the heat, warm in the cold

General Atomics opens new spacecraft development and test facility in Colorado

Earth-Size, Habitable Zone Planet Found Hidden in Early NASA Kepler Data

CHEOPS space telescope ready for scientific operation

HD 158259 and it's six planets almost in rhythm

Simulating early ocean vents shows life's building blocks form under pressure

New Horizons pushing the frontier ever deeper into the Kuiper Belt

Mysteries of Uranus' oddities explained by Japanese astronomers

Jupiter's Great Red Spot shrinking in size, not thickness

Researchers find new minor planets beyond Neptune

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - 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. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.