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John Hyten: USAF Has More Work to Do on Russian Engine Replacement

Gen. John Hyten
Gen. John Hyten

Gen. John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, said the branch still needs to work out the details of a plan to develop a rocket engine to replace the Russian-made RD-180, Defense News reported Friday.

Aaron Mehta writes Hyten pointed out language in the 2015 defense authorization bill that would require the Pentagon to find a domestically-produced engine by fiscal 2019.

“So with that clear intent, assuming appropriations follow, we have a lot of work to do to figure out how to work the future of our launch enterprise,” he told audience at a recent Air Force Association forum.

Hyten also told reporters Friday the branch is considering certifying SpaceX to provide military satellite launch services and could issue a decision before the end of the year.

SpaceX wants to compete with United Launch Alliance in the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

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