A proposed House bill would forbid use of Russian rocket engines in launching any American military payloads.


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A proposed House bill would forbid use of Russian rocket engines in launching any American military payloads.

This bill is being put forth partly because of the Ukrainian situation and partly to support SpaceX’s effort to break the ULA Atlas/Delta monopoly on military launches. Whether it makes any sense or not is of course beside the point.

Meanwhile, the State Department has expanded the sanctions on satellite exports to Russia, which might threaten some future commercial Proton launches.

Both actions suggest that Elon Musk’s political clout is growing. Obviously his company’s concerns are not the prime motivation behind these decisions, but we should note that both actions hurt his direct competitors, while doing little harm to SpaceX.

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3 comments

  • Pzatchok

    It looks like the original contract to use ULA for launches was signed just days before Space X was set to begin qualifications for military launches. Possibly faster than normal.
    Then it was amended after the fact to even reduce the open launches by half. From 14 to 7 possible launches Space X could qualify for.

    The fact is congress could reset limits on how much foreign made components go into a military launch system.
    I think its now set at 51% but they could just as easily say it needs to have all major components domestically produced.
    Or they could give favor for the companies with a higher percentage of domestically produced components.
    They do not have to outlaw foreign produced or designed parts altogether.

    Domestic content legislation already passed.
    https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42501.pdf

  • mpthompson

    Looks like the bear is starting to get grumpy: Russia says US astronauts could be hurt by Ukraine sanctions.

  • Kelly Starks

    They might assume they can just convert from the Atlas to the Delta – or they want to push to start US production of the RD-180s – but I doubt it will go anywhere.

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