[Via Satellite 09-16-2014] United Launch Alliance (ULA) has announced it has completed a study on domestically produced engines that could replace the Russian-built RD-180 for the Atlas 5. In June 2014 the joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin venture signed several contracts with U.S. companies to evaluate domestic alternatives following the degradation of political relations between the United States and Russia following Russian involvement in Ukraine.
ULA said in a statement that the company intends to build an American engine with a U.S. aerospace partner. The company has initiated a new phase of investments to support a first launch in 2019.
“No one can deny the tremendous performance and reliability the RD-180 engine has provided,” said George Sowers, ULA’s vice president of advanced programs and lead for the propulsion activities. “However, it is critical to our near-term national security space missions and the capabilities those missions provide, to have a phased and measured approach of continuing to fly those engines, while simultaneously working to develop a new American engine for future missions.”
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