The Americans still lacked their own engine capable of launching heavy bombers into space. Therefore, they will buy another batch of Russian engines, despite their own penalties.
Roscosmos said it had received Kremlin approval to export Russian missile engines to the United States. Thus, Moscow accepted the results of negotiations between NPO Energomasz (part of Roscosmos) and the American company Orbital Science LLS on a contract for the use of the new RD-181M engine in the Antares launch rocket. These rockets deliver payloads to the International Space Station as well as research and commercial satellites in orbit.
The Americans had to commit to protecting Russian technology and making sure that the Russian-engine Antares missiles were not used for military launches. The agreement was concluded despite applicable US sanctions.
In December 2014, the first contract was signed between Orbital Sciences Corporation and NPO Energomasz worth $224.5 million for the delivery of 20 RD-181 engines with an option to purchase additional engines by December 31, 2021.
However, in December 2020, the United States imposed sanctions on 45 Russian companies in the Russian arms sector. Roscosmos and Rosatom structures were blacklisted for the first time, including the Progress rocket, the Space Center (the manufacturer of Soyuz rockets) and the main research institute of Roscosmos.
The new RD-181M engine, for which Roscosmos received export permission, represents the next stage in the development of the RD-181. Its counterpart RD-191M, used in Russian rocket launchers, will be installed on a trial version of the Angara-A5P heavy space rocket.
NASA still lacks its own rocket engine capable of launching rockets into space (in distant orbits). This engine should be completed by the end of 2022, when the legal possibility of purchasing engines in Russia ends. From 2023, the United States will be self-sufficient here.
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