After Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine, pretty much everybody in Washington agreed that the U.S. military needed to stop using Russian rocket engines for launching its satellites. However, because the Russian engines were available, there hasn’t been much funding of engine R&D over the last 20 years. U.S. industry needs time to catch up before Russian technology is jettisoned. Unfortunately, a handful of legislators don’t agree — they want to ban imports of the Russian engines right away. If that happened, it would become harder to get key national-security satellites into orbit on time. The Air Force, which oversees military launches, says it needs 18 more Russian engines through 2022 to assure there is no gap in national-security space missions. Congress should listen. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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