It appears that both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are considering hiring the Russia aerospace company Energia to build components for the CST-100 and Orion manned capsules.
What is going on here is that both Boeing and Lockheed Martin are looking for a subcontractor who can build these components for less money. Since labor costs in Russia are much lower than the U.S., both companies are considering Energia for this work.
This quote, however, encapsulates the cultural war that still goes on sometimes between Russia and the U.S.:
“[Russian] achievements in docking sites and [thermal protection equipment] production are quite competitive, but I am not sure that the Americans will accept our offer because they not only have the task of building a spaceship but also of gaining competence in this matter,” Dmitry Payson, director of the space and telecommunication technology department in Russia’s Skolkovo hi-tech hub, told Izvestia.
In interviewing many Russian and American space engineers over the years I have found an amazing amount of contempt from each for the work of the other, often without justification. Just as the Russians above seem to falsely think that Boeing and Lockheed Martin know nothing about docking equipment or thermal protection, American engineers repeatedly have expressed to me unjustified disdain for the space station technology developed by the Russians for Mir. The result: both countries often don’t take advantage of the other’s skills.
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