Frank Kendall: DoD’s Rocket Engine Devt Strategy Remains Unchanged

rocket-launchDefense Department acquisition chief Frank Kendall told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee Wednesday that DoD plans to continue to use the Russian RD-180 rocket engine technology until a U.S.-made replacement becomes available, Defense News reported Wednesday.

Joe Gould writes Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) have supported the Pentagon’s strategy towards ending its reliance on RD-180 engines for military space launches.

“It’s a complicated issue, but the [Defense] Department’s goals have never changed, to develop two engines, so if one of them has a failure, and we have a big gap in capability, we still have access to space,” Kendall told subcommittee members.

Boeing and Lockheed Martin‘s joint venture United Launch Alliance uses the Russian-made technology to power its Atlas V rockets to help launch some national security satellites for the U.S. Air Force.

Congress temporarily lifted a U.S. ban on RD-180 procurements through the fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill.

The Air Force awarded a set of “other transaction” agreements earlier earlier this year to multiple companies to help the military service build alternative engines for the service branch’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program.

You may also be interested in...

Gateway Life Support

NASA, Japan Sign Agreement for Gateway Life Support Capabilities

The Japanese government has inked an agreement with NASA to provide capabilities to sustain the habitation module of the agency's Gateway orbital outpost as part of the Artemis program. Gateway is designed to support scientific research efforts and function as a rendezvous point for astronauts that will fly to the Moon via the Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *