McCain challenges ULA cost figures for new engine

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Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), the head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has questioned the cost numbers that ULA has given the government for replacing the Russian engines it uses in the first stage of its Atlas 5 rocket.

ULA has been trying to convince Congress to let it use those Russian engines indefinitely. McCain wants their use discontinued, now. The result: a battle of numbers.

The real bottom line has really nothing to do with the Russian engines, however. The real bottom line is the bottom line itself: ULA has to quickly develop a rocket that costs less to launch, or else they will lose all their business to SpaceX. Their use of these Russian engines now in the Atlas 5 is really irrelevant, in the long run.

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