Engine Wars

The House version of the Fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill includes $220 million to develop an alternative to the Russian-made RD-180 engine, which powers United Launch Alliance rockets. In addition, the Senate Armed Services Committee’s mark of the Fiscal 2015 authorization bill prohibits “the use of Russian rocket engines on the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle at the end of the current block buy contract,” according to a release from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), SASC chairman. The SASC mark also calls on the Defense Department to “pursue new domestic development in a world-class liquid rocket engine.” If enacted, the language becomes even more critical as tensions between the US and Russia over the RD-180 heat up. (Read the full report.)