Skip to content

June 19, 2017

Senate alters sanctions to allow use of Russian rocket engines

by John_A

Don’t look now, but American spaceflight just dodged a bullet. Senators have passed an amendment to an Iran-Russia sanctions bill that, if gone unchecked, would have barred both NASA and private outfits from using Russian rocket engines. The original measure was supposed to prevent purchases from organizations that work with Russian defense and intelligence, but it would have effectively banned imports of the common RD-180 engine (found in ULA’s Atlas 5) and RD-181 (used in Orbital ATK’s Antares).

The amended bill still has to go through the House, but it’s likely to pass when both the amendment and the sanctions themselves received strong bipartisan support (the amendment passed 94 to 6, while the bill cleared the Senate 98 to 2).

While it seems likely that the Senate was going to catch the mistake, it’s safe to say that the consequences of missing it would have been… severe. Numerous upcoming civil and commercial missions are dependent on rockets powered by Russian motors, and the bill would have forced them to delay or even scrap those missions. That’s not very reassuring if you’re a space station crew member waiting for resupplies. The US may be trying to reduce its dependence on Russian space technology by developing more engines of its own, but it can’t cut ties that quickly.

Source: Space.com

Advertisements
Read more from News

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Note: HTML is allowed. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to comments

%d bloggers like this: