Relations between Moscow and Washington will be the determining factor as to whether Russia will continue its leadership in rocket engine development. Bringing politics into space exploration can severely compromise a signed deal for the delivery of Russian rocket engines to the United States.
MOSCOW, January 21 (Sputnik) — Tensions between power-brokers in Washington and Moscow could discourage cooperation between the two nations in space exploration and the development of new technologies, member of the Russian Cosmonautics Academy Aleksandr Zheleznyakov said Wednesday.
"If a political situation is such that difficulties between our countries will continue, political factors will dominate [the Russia-US space cooperation], no matter how high-quality our production is," the scientist said at a press conference in Rossiya Segodnya press center.
The scientist stressed that bringing politics into space exploration would severely compromise a signed deal for the delivery of Russian rocket engines to the United States.
According to Zheleznyakov, political relations between Moscow and Washington will be the determining factor as to whether Russia will continue its leadership in rocket engine production and development.
He also noted that Russian engines are more reliable than the US ones. "This is just what [the] US space industry currently needs," the expert said, adding that the United States could spend a decade developing a rocket engine capable of meeting demands of the country's space exploration.
Last week, Russian rocket manufacturer Energia signed a $1-billion contract with US Orbital Services Corporation for the delivery of 60 RD-181 engines, to be installed on Antares carrier rockets. The first two engines are expected to be delivered in June 2015.
Energia is also discussing the delivery of 30 RD-180 engines, to power the enormous Atlas-5 rockets, to US company United Launch Alliance.
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