15:07 GMT07 April 2020
Listen Live
    Military & Intelligence
    Get short URL
    11365
    Subscribe

    The US government shouldn’t make a hasty decision and stop the use of the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines; otherwise it would hinder US access to space, Senator Richard Shelby wrote for the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

    Some members of the US Congress, led by Senator John McCain, are against the fact that the US Air Force relies on RD-180 engines, imported from Russia, to get to space. McCain, who is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, argues that Washington should stop buying the RD-180, a cost-effective booster engine with unique features, which powers he Atlas 5 rocket built by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co.

    However, Shelby argued that stopping the use of Russian rocket engines immediately would limit US access to space.

    "If we do so hastily, the result could leave our military in a dangerous predicament," Shelby said, as cited by the WSJ.

    According to Shelby, the Russian-made engine should be used until a reliable US alternative would become available.

    By seeking to ban the RD-180, McCain wants to "eliminate competition" for his personal friend Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX. If McCain's proposal passes it would give SpaceX, which in the past had many delays, technical failures and crashes, a monopoly on national security measures. It's also worth noting that SpaceX is yet to launch a single mission to space, Shelby explained.

    Everyone knows McCain is not particularly fond of Russia and President Vladimir Putin, but if he genuinely wants to ban Russian imports, why doesn't he ban other items from Russia — for example, ammunition, oil and petroleum products? 

    Related:

    SpaceX to Carry Payload to Space as US Phases Out Russian Rocket Engines
    US Senator McCain to Introduce Bill to End Use of Russian Rocket Engines
    Russia to Deliver 20 RD-180 Engines to US for Atlas 5 Carrier Rockets
    Tags:
    RD-180 rocket engine, US Air Force, SpaceX, Richard Shelby, John McCain, United States, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via SputnikComment via Facebook