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    Elon Musk Lauds Brilliant Russian Rocket Engine RD-180 in Core of US' Atlas V

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    The reliable and relatively cheap RD-180 engine is designed by a Russian research and development company especially for the US Atlas carrier rockets, but there are reportedly plans to put them to use in the production of Russian super-heavy rockets.

    The head of SpaceX Elon Musk has praised the RD-180’s engine, designed and manufactured by Russia’s NPO Energomash and used on the American booster Atlas V, noting though that the need to exploit it is “embarrassing:”

    The Russian-designed liquid-fuel rocket engine RD-180 powers the first stage of the American rocket carrier Atlas V. As many as 85 flights of rockets powered by the engine have been conducted to date. 

    After US-Russia relations deteriorated over the Crimean issue in 2014, US lawmakers slapped limits on would-be RD-180 purchases, passing a law that required the US to phase out the Russian-made engines in favour of domestically produced next-generation rocket propulsion systems.

    However, the following year, the US Congress passed a budget that included a provision allowing the country to go on buying the Russian RD-180 rocket engines. Shortly after, the ULA ordered an additional batch of 20 RD-180 engines at the Pentagon’s request.

    Separately, there were earlier reports on the intention to use the engine RD-180 in a Russian rocket of the super-heavy class.

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    Tags:
    booster, RD-180, rocket carrier, research, rocket, engine, space, SpaceX, Elon Musk, United States, Russia
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