Moscow has agreed to allow state-of-the-art domestically made rocket engines to be sold to the US, despite Washington’s sanctions against Russian industry that are significantly hampering the ability of the country’s space agency.
According to Roscosmos, the government’s support means that Russia will be able to negotiate with the US to supply RD-181M engines, in what the space agency called “mutually beneficial cooperation.”
American rockets regularly use Russian-made engines, and they are currently in use with both the government-run NASA and the privately owned SpaceX.
In a statement published on Monday, Roscosmos revealed that it would negotiate with Orbital Sciences, an American aerospace and defense technology company that merged with Alliant Techsystems in 2015 to become Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems.
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The engine is produced by manufacturer Energomash, a “reliable supplier of high-quality high-tech products,” Roscosmos noted.
“The new RD-181M engine, which Roscosmos has received an export permit for, represents the next stage of development of the RD-181,” the state agency continued.
Last week, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin revealed the government’s support for selling the engines. He noted, however, that the space agency must receive guarantees that Russian technology will not be used for military purposes.
Roscosmos has repeatedly hit out at Washington for what its head, Dmitry Rogozin, has called “stupid” sanctions. Last year, the US Department of Commerce introduced restrictions on companies that it believes cooperate with the Russian military. The list includes many space-related businesses, such as the Progress Rocket Space Center, which is the developer and manufacturer of the famous Soyuz rocket system. Until last summer, the US was reliant on this very same technology to conduct launches.
“The possible use of sanctions by the United States against these Russian enterprises jeopardizes the further implementation of the International Space Station program,” Rogozin said.
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