03:23 GMT15 May 2021
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    US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James stated that the US air force is working with Congress to ease restrictions on the use of Russian RD-180 rocket engines.

    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.

    In 2014, Congress passed a law requiring the United States to develop a domestically produced next-generation rocket propulsion system by 2019 in order to eliminate reliance on the Russian RD-180 rocket engines.

    "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.

    Related:

    Contract on RD-180 Space Rocket Engines Deliveries to US Unchanged
    Russia Likely to Continue RD-180 Rocket Engine Deliveries to US: Physicist
    Tags:
    RD-180 rocket engine, US Air Force, US, Russia
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