No Concrete Decisions Made By U.S. Defense Officials
The U.S. Department of Defense is apparently feeling a bit squeamish about using rocket motors built in Russia to launch U.S. satellites ... but it doesn't have a good alternative for the immediate future.
The Pentagon's weapons acquisition chief Frank Kendall (pictured) told Reuters Friday that DoD has taken some "initial steps" towards finding a replacement, but no final decisions have been made. Kendall said that the Pentagon is "motivated, if we can do it, to remove the dependency that we have."
Several congressional committees have included funding for a new U.S. rocket engine in the 2015 military budget. United Launch Alliance (ULA) uses a Russian-made RD-180 engine in its Atlas rocket, which is used by the military to boost satellites into orbit.
Concerns were raised earlier this year then Moscow said it could end the sale of rocket engines to the U.S. over sanctions imposed following the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in Ukraine.
Development of a U.S. rocket engine is estimated to cost $1 billion and take five years.