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Russia hands over last rocket engines to ULA

In a ceremony in Russia yesterday, Roscosmos’s Energomash division completed and handed over ownership to ULA six RD-180 engines, to be used in ULA’s Atlas 5 rocket.

These are the last such engines required as part of the contract. They will also likely be the last Russian engines ULA will ever buy. The company is retiring its Atlas 5 rocket, which requires them, and replacing it with its Vulcan rocket, which will instead use Blue Origin’s BE-4 engine.

Furthermore, as of September 1st, 2021 such commercial space contracts with Russia will be difficult to obtain because of new sanctions imposed on Russia by the Biden administration.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


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  • Mark McSherry

    I hope you will not take this as a completely inappropriate take-over of your posted subject. But a review of a Russian movie called Spacewalker (2017) was posted today- the movie was released on blu-ray on January 2021 and is available at Amazon for $16.

    Here’s the opening paragraph from Glenn Erickson’s review–

    by Glenn Erickson APR 17, 2021

    Dmitriy Kiselev’s overlooked Russian thriller is an exciting and inspirational true account of the first walk in space by a Soviet cosmonaut — a mission that nearly became a tragedy. It’s almost as emotional an experience as Apollo 13 — the worthy cosmonauts demonstrate ‘the right stuff’ under much more trying conditions. The beautifully produced and splendidly acted show makes it seem a crime that foreign movies this good are routinely denied theatrical exhibition here. The Blu-ray comes with an excellent pair of featurettes, with the participation of the original spacewalker Alexey Leonov.

    Has anyone seen this movie? I ‘ve read Erickson’s reviews for many years and will purchase this on Glenn’s word.

  • Richard M

    This could force ULA to human rate Vulcan (in order to launch Starliners) more quickly than they had planned.

    Last I read, ULA had planned to keep Atlas V around just for Starliner launches, at least well into the 2020’s.

  • Mike Borgelt

    Mark McSherry, my wife and I watched Spacewalker a month or so ago. Excellent movie. It is on Youtube.

  • Jeff Wright

    Thanks for the heads up. I wish they had went with an American build RD-170 with four chambers instead of just the two.

  • Mark McSherry

    Thanks Mike! The blu-ray arrives Tuesday and, going by your comments, I’m now sure the $16 is well-spent.

  • Jay

    Thanks Mark for the movie. I watched it and loved it.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Haven’t seen the movie yet, but will do so soon. I have seen the trailer and I would say it looks even more like a Russian version of The Right Stuff than it does Apollo 13, though there is certainly some of that in there too.

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