Russia Seeks to Use Its RD-180 Rocket Engines Which May Be Rejected by US In Soyuz-2.1 Carriers

© Sputnik / Yuri Streletc /  / Go to the mediabankRD-180 rocket engine
RD-180 rocket engine - Sputnik International
KOROLYOV, Russia (Sputnik) - Russia may start using its RD-180 rocket engines, which it exports to the United States but does not currently use itself, in the first stages of Soyuz-2.1 carriers, Russian State Space Corporation Roscosmos CEO Dmitry Rogozin said on Friday.

"It [Soyuz] will certainly continue flying for around 10 more years. One of the possible decisions is to change Soyuz-2.1a and Soyuz-2.1b first stages' engines for RD-180", Rogozin said at the Central Research Institute of Machine Building.

RD-180 is developed and manufactured by NPO Energomash, a major Russian rocket engine manufacturer, and is designed for the use in US Atlas carrier rockets.

The US Congress has been looking to curb the future purchases of RD-180 engines as part of economic sanctions against Moscow issuing a law that obliges Washington to develop its own next-generation rocket propulsion system. At that time, US Senator from Arizona John McCain was in the forefront of banning the engines citing what he called “Russian aggression” in the Middle East and Eastern Europe. 

Nevertheless, other legislators pushed to allow the purchase leading the US Senate to permit the Russian RD-180 rocket engines to launch payloads into space until 2022. The US space programme relies on the Russian-built and supplied RD-180 engines to power the first stage of the Atlas V rocket, the only US vehicle now capable of sending heavy payloads. 

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