Monday, May 26, 2014

Russian RD-180 Rocket Engine Replacement to Cost US $1.5Bln and take 6 Years

The development of a rocket engine to replace the Russian-made RD-180 used to launch the American Atlas V rocket, would cost $1.5 billion and take up to six years, Bloomberg said Wednesday, citing data from an independent panel advising the Pentagon.

The loss of the RD-180 may have a "significant" impact, as there are few "near-terms options to mitigate" the consequences, according to a study by an independent commission of advisors working in the space sector.

Despite claims by the US Air Force that there are enough engines in reserve for two more years of launches, the lack of new RD-180 imports may lead to launch delays, potentially leading to $5 billion in increased costs through 2017.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel earlier ordered air force commanders to reconsider the principles of US cooperation with Russia in the military and technical sphere and reduce the US dependence on Russian rocket engines.

US Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said the Pentagon has no means of replacing the Russian-made rocket engine, which the US uses to launch satellites for military purposes.

It was reported that as a solutions to the problem, the US Air Force could produce a US copy of the engine or increase launches of the Delta IV rocket with a completely different engine.

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said earlier that in response to the US sanctions against Russia, Moscow will suspend the export of the RD-180 and NK-33 rocket engines to the United States.

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