23:58 GMT13 April 2021
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    The US should use more cost-effective RD-180 rocket engine made in Russia to launch national security payloads into space.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The United States should use the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine to launch national security payloads into space because it is the most cost-effective alternative, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in congressional testimony on Thursday.

    "We have to have a way to launch our national security payloads into space," Carter stated. "One way to do that… is to continue to use the Atlas booster, including a limited but continuing number of RD-180 engines, notwithstanding the fact we don’t like the fact that they're made in Russia."

    The Department of Defense is recommending this approach because replacing the RD-180 rocket engine would give it a bill of one billion dollars or more.

    In 2014, US Congress passed a law demanding the United States phase out its reliance on the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines.

    However, in the two years after implementing a purchasing ban on the RD-180 engines, Congress has been forced to lift that ban to ensure the United States access to space.


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