Russia’s Energomash Successfully Tests RD-180 Engine Made for US Atlas Rocket

Russia’s Energomash Successfully Tests RD-180 Engine Made for US Atlas Rocket
Sputnik/ Yuri StreletcRussia17:01 28.02.2018Get short URL



MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Tests of a Russian RD-180 liquid-fuel rocket engine have been carried out in the Science and Test Complex of Russia’s NPO Energomash, the company said Wednesday in a statement.

“According to the head of the complex Andrey Ushkov, the tests went routinely, the test program has been fully implemented,” the statement reads.

The reliable and relatively cheap RD-180 engine is developed and manufactured by NPO Energomash and is designed for the US Atlas carrier rockets.

Despite currently, American aerospace company Blue Origin has tested the Blue Engine 4 (BE-4) next-generation rocket engine, planned to replace the RD-180 engine in future American space launches, at the moment the US side still has to use the Russian-produced engines.

READ MORE: Blue Origin Tests Rocket Engine as US Seeks to Replace Russian RD-180

After the US-Russia relations deteriorated over the Crimean issue in 2014, US lawmakers imposed limits on future RD-180 purchases, passing a law that required the US to phase out the Russian-made engines in favor of domestically produced next-generation rocket propulsion systems.

However, the next year, the US Congress passed a budget that included a provision allowing the country to continue buying the Russian RD-180 rocket engines. Shortly after, the ULA ordered an additional 20 RD-180 engines at the request of the Pentagon.

READ MORE: US Efforts to Replace Russian RD-180 Rocket Engine Advance — Orbital ATK

In January, US launch vehicle Atlas V with satellite GEO-4 was launched from Cape Canaveral. The first stage powered by RD-180 engine successfully separated.

The Atlas V, a two-stage rocket with the initial stage powered by an RD-180 engine, has completed 75 launches since its inaugural flight in 2002, according to the United Launch Alliance (ULA).