John Hyten, the nominee to head US Strategic Command (STRATCOM), vowed in a congressional testimony to work with lawmakers to end the United States’ dependence on Russian-built RD-180 rocket engines.
The RD-180 engines under consideration in the 2017 budget help provide a bridge to the next generation launch vehicles being developed, Hyten said.
“I pledge to continue to work with the Congress to make sure this nation ceases our reliance on the Russian RD-180 as soon as possible and never loses assured access to space”, Hyten, current US Space Command chief, stated.
US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter earlier this year claimed the continuing use the RD-180 engines was the most effective option for launching national security payloads into space.
The US Air Force has relied on a single space launch provider, the United Launch Alliance, which has used the Russian RD-180 engines to put up satellites for ten years, according to a Government Accountability Office report published in July. (Russian Aviation/Business World Magazine)
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