U.S. Orbital Sciences Spends $1B On 60 Russian MD-180 Rocket Engines

Posted: January 17, 2015 in Sanctions on Russia Meaningless, Technology and Energy

SOURCE: http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-us-aerospace-deal-rocket-engines-orbital-sciences-energia/26799094.html

SOURCE:  http://macedoniaonline.eu/content/view/26815/55/

SEE ALSO:  U.S. To Use Russian RD-180 Rocket Motor Till At Least 2019

SEE ALSO:  U.S. Using Russian Rocket Engines To Launch Spy Satelites….Obama Admin Protected Deal


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U.S. Company Signs $1 Billion Deal For Russian Rocket Engines

January 17, 2015

A private U.S. space firm has signed a deal to buy 60 rocket engines from Russia’s state-owned Energia producer.

Energia announced the deal, worth about $1 billion, ina press release late on January 16.

The U.S. firm Orbital Sciences will buy 60 RD-180 rocket engines for use to deliver supplies to the International Space Station for the U.S. space agency NASA.

The deal comes two months after an Orbital Sciences rocket using a Russian engine exploded over the U.S. state of Virginia. The U.S. company says that instead of abandoning Russian-made equipment, it will phase out the Soviet-era models it previously used for the new RD-180s.

Energia is not among the Russian companies that have been targeted by U.S. sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. However, Russian officials have threatened to stop supplying the rockets in a response to those sanctions. Moscow has already banned the transfer of rocket engines for U.S. military launches.

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Sanctions? US Company to Buy Russian Rockets

Friday, 16 January 2015

Russia’s design bureau NPO Energomash is to deliver 60 RD 181 engines for the Antares rocket first stage to American space technology manufacturer Orbital Sciences Corporation. The total cost of the deal is about $1 billion.

“We are committed to deliver 60 engines. Three options have been signed, each for 20 engines,” Vladimir Solntsev, executive director of Energomash, told the Izvestia newspaper. “There is a firm contract for 20 engines, which we have started fulfilling, as we are due to supply the first two engines next June.”

According to Solntsev, Russia’s government has already issued all the permits required for the deal. The contract envisages restrictions for the use of RD-181 engines in military programs as those rockets cannot be used for military goals.

Following an engine failure and subsequent explosion during the Antares launch in October, the company halted all launches, struggling to find a replacement. The reliability of the RD-181 and similar engines made it the best choice, Orbital’s vice president for space launch strategic development, Mark Pieczynski, told Aviation Week in December.

The engine was developed specially for Antares and it allows more cargo to be delivered to the International Space Station and to low orbits. Using new technologies and materials the engineers managed to increase the motive power to 186 tons.

The total cost of the deal is estimated at $1 billion. This sum includes not only the price of the engines but a set of services as well. Energomash will provide flight preparation, training, engines installation and its test operations.

According to Solntsev, the US would have to spend about $3 billion to develop its own engine for Antares and the process would take up to 10 years, without guarantee of success. That’s why Energomash plans to cooperate with Orbital Sciences Corporation for 15-20 years.

“I believe the contract is focused on cooperation over 15-25 years, as no one will regularly change engines on a rocket,” he said.

Energomash is Russia’s leading rocket engines producer. The company has cooperated with the Orbital Sciences Corporation since 1990, delivering RD 180 engines for Atlas rockets. Later, the AJ-26 engines, based on the Soviet NK 33, were used for Antares.

The Antares rockets are also used to launch Cygnus, OSC’s new automated cargo spacecraft, which is part of NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

Last April, the US halted cooperation with Russia in other spaсe programs apart from the International Space Station program. However, the sanctions do not apply to Energomash. Long-term cooperation in other programs is still under discussion, however.

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