Atlas 5 successfully launches military communications payload

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The competition heats up: After a two month delay because of an engine issue on its previous launch, ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket today successfully placed a military communications into orbit.


  • wayne

    “Atlas V MUOS-5 Launch Broadcast” from ULA (runs about an hour)

  • Alex

    Why end this successful US-Russian cooperation (good Russian engine RD-180 as part of a good US rocket)? US politicians: Please, forget your aggressive ideology and politics, come back to cooperation.

  • Alex: The reason the U.S. wants out of using Russia’s rocket engine is very simple Russia has demonstrated itself to be a dangerous and unreliable partner. If you are going to be a producer selling a product, you have to keep your customers happy. The U.S. is one of Russia’s biggest customers, and Russia’s behavior in the Crimea has made that customer very unhappy.

    You also ask us to “come back to cooperation.” Did Russia use cooperation in its attack on Ukraine? It did not. What you reap, you will sow.

  • Edward

    You an amusing view of the world.

    As you are well aware, the end of the RD-180 cooperation is due entirely to the aggressive ideology and politics of Russia’s military conquest of the Crimea in order to expand Russia’s empire.

    However, I think that this loss of cooperation is a good outcome. Although commercial companies should find international partners and vendors for their production, defense equipment should rely heavily on domestic production, slightly on production from very friendly allies, and never on production from potential military adversaries.

    For about a century, Russia has been the last of these, and I do not see that changing any time soon. Since Russia has imposed an embargo of RD-180 use on US defense launches, It is clear that Russia also considers itself a potential military adversary of the US.

    Your own attitude toward the two countries helps me affirm my opinion that Russia will long remain a potential military adversary. For these reasons, going back to cooperation and the use of the RD-180 on rockets used for defense payloads is a very bad idea.

    The adversarial attitude expressed by both countries over the use of the RD-180 demonstrates that the US-Russian cooperation was most definitely *not* successful. It also shows that my opinion about reliance on foreign vendors for defense equipment is well founded.

  • Alex

    Robert Zimmerman and Edward: Nobody should buy anything more from USA, if we review how many foreign countries were attacked or foreign governments were overthrown by USA directly or indirectly in last 70 years. Why does or did these sanctions not happen? Clearly, because US empire has the power and strength to prevent it and to enforce its will at the world (BTW, this is very short definition of an empire). BTW, Crimea returned just to Russia to it has belonged for centuries. If you like, it was a delayed administrative decision to correct a wrong internal Soviet decision, made decades ago. Nothing, which shall be of greater interest for the USA, if the US empire would not have its own geostrategic interests in the origin (incl. plans to install a US military bases at Crimea.

  • Alex

    Readers: This video gives interesting insight in production methods applied to Russian engine RD-191, including spining of the nozzle.

  • D K Rögnvald Williams

    If SpaceX can build engines, ULA can do so as well. On a related issue, will the Russians sell engines to Iran, now that they are flush with cash?

  • wayne

    D K Rögnvald Williams:
    related tangent…
    –Boeing just inked a deal with Iran for $17 Billion worth of commercial aircraft.
    [WSJ front-page, June 24th]

  • Edward

    Alex asked: “Why does or did these sanctions not happen?”

    Because then we would have to put sanctions on every country that ever attacked any other country. Germany would stand alone. So would Russia. And China. And the UK. Oh, pooh, the only trading partners left in the world would have to be …

    Sorry, can’t think of any fully innocent country that has never started a war.

    Alex wrote: “Clearly, because US empire has the power and strength to prevent it and to enforce its will at the world (BTW, this is very short definition of an empire).”

    This short definition of an empire applies to virtually every country, because any country can halt trade with any other country that it chooses. Thus every country is the imperial master of any and every country it trades with. In addition, this definition also makes every country on the planet a member of the supposed US empire.

    Alex wrote: “BTW, Crimea returned just to Russia to it has belonged for centuries.”

    Well, as you noted, Russia (formerly the USSR) gifted Crimea to the Ukraine, then a couple of years ago took it back — by force. In America, we have a very rude, politically incorrect name for those who perform such an action.

    Alex wrote: “If you like, it was a delayed administrative decision to correct a wrong internal Soviet decision, made decades ago.”

    What a lovely euphemism. I suppose if the US ever did such a thing, then the world would be obligated, by Alex’s standards, to sanction trade restrictions with the US.

    Oh, wait. It is trade restrictions with Putin’s Soviet version of Russia that Alex is complaining about in the first place. Hmm. One standard for the US, another standard for the Putin’s Soviet Russia. The US would be sanctioned, the Soviet Russia would be cheered for retaking gifted territory. Yet another amusing world view.

    Alex wrote: “incl. plans to install a US military bases at Crimea.”

    Oh drat! We had 25 years of opportunity to do this, but in our eagerness to get it done we never got around to doing it until *after* the Russians took it back — er — “delayed administrative decision to correct a wrong internal Soviet decision.”

    Thank you for the video. Although it was a friend of mine who learned the Russian language, not me (I hope that he is using that knowledge for trade negotiations or for other US-Russo commerce), the pictures were, as they say, worth a thousand words.

    I only understood a few words, and can only guess as to their application in the video: that these engines were used on Progress and Soyuz rockets and perhaps that they are being sold to Italy, unless there is a Russian word that sounds just like the American pronunciation of that country.

    It is always fun to see the inside of other space manufacturing facilities, not just the ones I worked in.

  • pzatchok

    There is a US law that requires the US military to buy from domestic sources when possible. At almost any price. Unless that product or a very similar product is not available.

    Now that similar engines are being produced in the US, or at least similar load capable rockets, the military must try to use a domestic source.

    ULA if it doesn’t start using US made engines could be forced out of the military launch market.

    Falcon Heavy WILL put ULA out of business unless it finds a domestic engine soon.

    The Crimea just gave our politicians a nice excuse to force the ban on Russian engines. Private US companies gave them a nice opportunity.

    By the way taking the Crimea was a foolish move militarily. It gives Russia no defensive or offensive capabilities it didn’t already have. No special position on ‘the board’ and in fact must now be protected like the family jewels.
    It was a political move to impress the Russian people.
    Proven by the fact that there are only enough Russian troops there to keep the local people inline and not enough to keep out any invading forces. Putin has no plans on keeping it in case of war. Its just an economic burden now.

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