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Russia's Energomash to double production of rocket engines

KHIMKI (Moscow region), May 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Energomash, a leading rocket engine manufacturer, is planning to double the number of engines produced for Atlas and Zenit launch vehicles in the future, the head of the company said on Tuesday.

Energomash won tenders on the design and production of 101 RD-180 engines for U.S. Atlas carrier rockets and RD-171 engines for Russian-Ukrainian Zenit rockets in the 1990s.

The company has built and delivered 41 RD-180 and 20 RD-171 engines so far.

"At present, we manufacture five RD-180 engines per year and we are planning to increase annual production to 8-10 in the near future," said Nikolai Pirogov, Energomash general director.

"In addition, we build 5-6 RD-171 engines per year and are also planning to raise this number to 10," he said.

Pirogov also said the company would finish testing an RD-191 engine for Russia's new Angara carrier rocket by the end of 2008.

"We are two-thirds of the way through," he said. "If we get sufficient financing, we will finish the work on the engine this year."

The Angara family of carrier rockets, designed by the Khrunichev center, will compliment, and eventually replace, the existing line of Rockot and Proton launch vehicles.

The new rocket can deliver a payload of up to 24.5 tons to a 200-km (124 miles) orbit.

Energomash conducts about 50 tests of new engines annually.

The company, founded in 1929, built engines used on the R-7 rocket, which sent the first Sputnik into space, as well as for Proton and Energia rockets among numerous other engines.

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