Next-Gen Rocket Engines Developing by US to Replace Russian RD-180: ULA CEO

Next-Gen Rocket Engines Developing by US to Replace Russian RD-180: ULA CEO
Tue Apr 12, 2016 15:28:53

The development of the replacement for the Russian RD-180 rocket engines is going well and as planned, United Launch Alliance (ULA) President and CEO Tory Bruno told Sputnik on the margins of the 32nd Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

In 2014, Congress passed a law requiring the United States to develop a domestically produced next-generation rocket propulsion system by 2019 in order to eliminate reliance on the Russian RD-180 rocket engines.

When asked whether they will be able to complete the development by 2019, Bruno said, "Yes."
"We have two engines in development: the BE-4 from Blue Origin, which is a methane engine, and also the AR1 the Aerojet Rocketdyne which is a kerosene one. Both engines are proceeding on their plan and doing very very well, so I am confident of the schedule we have," Bruno explained.

According to the CEO, ULA has no plans for another order of the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines.

"I can say that we have placed an order for 20 RD-180s which provides our bridge from we are today to where we have the Vulcan Centaur Rocket that we'll have a replacement engine on it for the RD-180," Bruno said. "I don’t have plans for another order… After 20, [plans for further purchases] not at this time.’’

The US lawmakers' 2014 decision to curb the use of Russian rocket engines appeared to be reversed with the 2016 budget by allowing the United States to continue using the RD-180, Sputnik reported.


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