Russia to sell China rocket engines?

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The competition heats up: Russia is negotiating with China to sell them Russian rocket engines.

No deal has been made, but it appears that Russia, faced with the possibility that it might lose the U.S. as a customers, is shopping its product around.


  • Cotour

    I find it entirely ridiculous that the United States Of America needs to purchase rocket engines from Russia, or anyone else for that matter. And I have great respect for the Russians and their technology, that’s not my point.

    What do I not understand about this? Is it purely related to cost of production per unit, or is their rocket engine technology that much more superior and or reliable than ours?

  • The reason ULA has been buying Russian engines is probably two-fold: One, they do cost less. Two, ULA has been lazy and not pressured to compete with anyone or innovate for decades. To save money they took the easy route, buying Russian engines, rather than find a way to make them cheaper themselves.

    Russian rocket engines are good, but they don’t really have any specific advantage over anyone else. For example, SpaceX’s Merlin engine is probably superior, but SpaceX is not selling that engine to other companies.

  • Cotour

    Thank you, and you anticipated my next question: Who makes Space X’s engines? I have to believe that Musk’s investment in the design and production capability will ensure his dominance into the foreseeable future.

    I think I saw the 3D printed engines for their capsule here, a beautiful piece of engineering and production. I think they use 3D laser scintering to build all of the parts for the engines.

    Unlimited future potential related to shapes, simplicity in design and level of part complexity.

  • SpaceX makes SpaceX’s engines.

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