Language in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act would require the Pentagon to find an alternative to the Russian-built RD-180 rocket engine in five years, Defense News reported Wednesday.
Aaron Mehta writes the NDAA provision would allow RD-180 use in U.S. military launches only “if needed for national security and if space launch services cannot be obtained at a fair and reasonable price” without the Russian platform.
The defense bill could head to the full House for a vote by Friday.
The legislation would also mandate the Air Force to initiate multiple industry competitions for launch services between fiscal years 2015 and 2017, according to Mehta’s article.
United Launch Alliance was awarded an $11 billion sole-source contract covering launch vehicles and RD-180 engines for the U.S. military through 2019.