MOSCOW – A number of countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are interested in acquiring Russian engines for space launch vehicles, said the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin.
“Now there are other states (besides the US), including the NATO countries that are interested in acquiring rocket engines in Russia,” he said, TASS reports.
Rogozin called it a good indicator that “under the conditions of sanctions, pressure, nevertheless, Russia’s high-tech exports exist, particularly in the area of rocket and engine construction”. “We still maintain world leadership. This must be valued, because it brings the country a profit, ” added the head of Roscosmos.
In early April, the Pentagon confirmed the terms set by the US Congress of not using Russian rocket engines. At the same time, the general director of the joint Russian-American enterprise RD AMROSS, former NASA astronaut Michael Baker, stated that the RD-180 will be purchased by the United States at least until 2023-2024.
The RD AMROSS combine allows American programs to make use of Russian rockets otherwise unavailable to the US – an internal sidestep within the US around its own sanctions regime against Russia.
The RD-180 will continue to be sold to the US as well. Russia had previously signed a deal to sell banned space rocket engines to the United States at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries.
U.S. lawmakers banned the use of the Russian engines for military and spy satellite launches after Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014. The ban was partially lifted due to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) space contractor’s reliance on the Russian-built engine for lifting its rockets into space.
“We signed a contract where we will supply six more RD-180 engines to our partners in 2020,” the head of Russia’s Energomash enginemaker, Igor Arbuzov, told the state-run RIA Novosti news agency at the time in July of 2018.
Following a NASA and Air Force quality compliance audit in 2017, Arbuzov said ULA planned to test-launch its Atlas V rocket equipped with the Russian engine this November, with manned flights that reportedly took place in February 2019.