WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US air force is working with Congress to ease restrictions on using Russian RD-180 rocket engines, US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated on Wednesday.
"We are trying to work this through with Congress to essentially give us a little bit more leeway either allow us to use a few more [RD-180] engines for a few more years until we can get this developmental program completed," Lee James said.
She added that the US military believes a new engine will be developed in less than a decade, but that still falls short of the deadline requested by Congress.
The US government is currently looking to award contracts to manufacturers to expedite the replacement of the RD-180 engine.
US lawmakers are also looking into the domestic development of entirely new generation of space launch vehicles in partnership with private companies including SpaceX, Boeing and Lockheed Martin.