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US announced deadline for abandoning Russian RD-180

by alex

The United States announced the deadline for abandoning the Russian RD-180

The United States announced a deadline for abandoning the Russian RD-180 engines, which receive heavy Atlas 5 missiles, RIA Novosti reports, citing Julie Arnold, a spokesman for the United Launch Alliance (ULA)

“Our current plan is to decommission our Atlas 5 family of rockets in the mid-2020s,” said a member of the Boeing-Lockheed Martin alliance.

According to her, this period “may change depending on customer demand.”

The agency, referring to the Scientific and Production Association (NPO) “Energomash”, notes that the United States received from Russia 116 RD-180 engines, of which 91 have already been used.

In July, SpaceNews reported that Blue Origin had supplied ULA with the first BE-4 rocket engine, designed to replace Russia's RD-180 powertrains. The power unit, according to the publication, will be used for testing together with the carrier, and is not a serial one.

In October 2018, Blue Origin announced the first successful BE-4 fire test. Blue Origin congratulated on this alliance ULA, a joint venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the Atlas V launch vehicle, on the first stage of which the RD-180 is installed.

In January 2018, the general director of Energomash, Igor Arbuzov, said that more than half of the company's revenue comes from the supply of RD-180 and RD-181 rocket engines to the United States.

Two single-chamber BE-4s, installed on the first stage of the Vulcan (actually Atlas 6), together will develop more thrust than one two-chamber RD-180 of the first Atlas 5 stage. Unlike the RD-180, which runs on kerosene, the BE-4 uses methane. Blue Origin also plans to install BE-4s on its own New Glenn rocket. The Vulcan carrier, which claims to launch spacecraft in the interests of the Pentagon, is due to fly in 2021.

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