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American Space Exploration Depends Too Much on Russia

united states russia space rd-180 atlas v

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#1 +zhiVago

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 11:51

American Space Exploration Depends Too Much on Russia

 

A Space Race, But On Russia's Terms

 

In order to maintain its space superiority, the United States currently relies on Russian technology – so much so, in fact, that every once in a while American claims to space superiority seem rather hollow. This state of affairs has been brought into sharp focus in recent weeks.

 

On August 27, the Kremlin's English-language television channel, Russia Today, reported that the Security Council of the Russian Federation was considering an export ban of the venerable RD-180 rocket engine. This engine is sold exclusively to the U.S. launch firm United Launch Alliance to power its Atlas V rocket. The vehicle is considered by many industry insiders, analysts and casual observers to be the workhorse of the U.S. Launch fleet, and is regularly contracted to lift NASA, National Reconnaissance Office and United States Air Force payloads into orbit.

 

The Russian decision, therefore, would be potentially disastrous from a national security standpoint. Losing the RD-180 would have a serious effect on the United States' ability to access space, thereby impacting everything from military communications and control to the intelligence and commercial satellites enabling the United States to effectively pursue and protect its interests on the world stage.

 

 




#2 DocM

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 12:42

Bring it on. All it would do is

1) cause NASA and the USAF to turn even more to SpaceX. Falcon 9 can already lift more than all but 2 versions of RD-180 based Atlas V, and the domestically engined Delta IV Heavy can handle those until Falcon Heavy flies.

2) cause the US to activate a contract clause that allows Rocketdyne to produce the RD-180 here

3) similar clause as 2) for the NK-33/AJ-26 by Aerojet that's used in Antares

4) accelerate the development of the RS-25, an expendable version of the Space Shuttle Main Engine (SSME). Already started for the SLS super heavy launcher.

5) cancel plans to mothball the J-2X upper stage engine.

6) accelerate plans by Rocketdyne to bring the Saturn V's massive F1b back into production. Also already in the cards for liquid version an of the SLS boosters.

Game On.

This would hurt Russia more than the US. The main reason the US bought those engines was to help keep their Russian makers in business after the revolution, with a secondary goal of preventing their engineers from moving to Iran, NK etc. Now they're moving here and to Europe.

#3 Jason S.

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 13:03

well, when the President slashes NASA's budget, this stuff happens. oh, but lets continue to inflate the budget for the military for the fake war on terror.



#4 OP +zhiVago

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 13:35

The main reason the US bought those engines was to help keep their Russian makers in business

 

Aw, it's so good-hearted and philanthropic of you. It's not like the engine's specs or the build quality had anything to do with it. /s



#5 DocM

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:03

It was a pragmatic decision to keep your engineers put instead of becoming hired guns. Try reading a non-Russian history book of the period - you might learn something.

This would also put a lot of people out of work at NPO Energomash, who are building one of the few Russian space products that outsiders want to buy. Hard to see hpw that helps Russia's struggling space industry.

#6 the better twin

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:11

Lol patriotic dick waggling is always funny to watch.



#7 DocM

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:19

There's no waggling to it. He bought another Russia Times tabloid exploitation fiction hook, line and sinker and I'm calling him on it.

#8 Geoffrey B.

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:36

When it comes to Governments they always ruin everything. And i understand that both programs are government funded but the scientists within those operations do not care much about USA or Russia more than they care about Human. once they are up on the space station or soyuz capsule they are the same team. not competing. its not the cold war anymore.



#9 DocM

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 14:52

That's fine, but it's stuff like this where the US realizes we cannot depend on the whims of politicians etc. who think the cold war never ended. Bring on Commercial Crew and all US launchers ASAP IMO.

#10 OP +zhiVago

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 09:54

There's no waggling to it. He bought another Russia Times tabloid exploitation fiction hook, line and sinker and I'm calling him on it.

 

Russia Times tabloid?

 

The source is usnews.com
 

About U.S. News & World Report

U.S. News & World Report is a multi-platform, publisher of news and information, which includes www.usnews.com and www.rankingsandreviews.com, as well as the digital-only U.S. News Weekly magazine.

U.S. News and World Report traces its history back to the weekly newspaper the United States News founded by David Lawrence in 1933.



#11 blerk

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 10:00

If Russia does block sales, I bet pretty much everything that DocM has will happen will actually occur. You'd also see congressional agreement on something (for once) and I bet that they would send a few billion dollars more to NASA and the DOD in the name of national security. 



#12 FloatingFatMan

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 11:55

Given their recent failure rates, who cares if Russia does this? At least American engineers don't force fit components upside with a hammer. :p

 

Time to go SpaceX all the way. :p



#13 DocM

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Posted 16 October 2013 - 16:33

Russia Times tabloid?

The source is usnews.com

And US News & World Report used Russia Times as their primary source. This story has been broadly discussed in the aerospace community and the consensus is it would hurt Russia more than the US.

This because not only would it cost Russian makers jobs but ULA has a stockpile of RD-180's sufficient for ~3 years (enough to replace it). Aerojet is set up to produce the NK-33/AJ26, SpaceX and Orbital are flying more than capable launchers with bigger ones coming etc. etc. AND soon we won't have to depend on Soyuz for crewed flights.

ISTM this is more for internal political consumption. One more way Putin can try to look "manly."

#14 +sanke1

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:02

Maybe they should partner India and use it's space technology. could be very cost effective.

#15 DocM

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:07

Atlas V currently relies on Russian engines. Atlas V is not "the US."

While it and Delta IV currently launch NASA and Air Force EELV (evolved expendable launch vehicle) payloads, that is changing with the opening up of NASA and EELV launches to New Space operators like SpaceX and Orbital Sciences. More will follow.

Delta IV, Delta IV Heavy, Falcon 9 v1.1, Falcon Heavy, SLS and the coming Blue Origin medium-heavy lifter do not use Russian engines. Atlas V could also evolve to use domestic engines.

Falcon 9 v1.1 is one launch away from qualifying for EELV launches and is already launching NASA payloads. Falcon Heavy will be able to launch 2+ EELV payloads at once, and 12.2 metric tons (2-3 communications satellites) to Mars.

Orbital Science's Antares depends on the AJ26, a derivative of the old Russian NK-33, but it will be domestically produced. They may even end up buying engines from another New Space outfit. They are already launching NASA ISS resupply flights, and with upgrades to Antares could also do EELV.

Again, Russia has mote to lose by such an action than anyone. Much more.



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