Atlas V rockets have used Russian RD-180 engines since 1990s.Press Photo / NASA
The deliveries of Russian rocket engines to the United States will continue through 2024-2025, CEO of the United Rocket and Space Corporation Yuri Vlasov said on April 14.
"Today we understand well that we’ll continue delivering American and European astronauts to the ISS [the International Space Station] in the next few years. And we understand well that the delivery of Russian rocket engines [RD-180] for Atlas carrier rockets will be inevitable somewhere until 2024-2025, in our mind, although we have a contract till 2018," the CEO said at a session of the State Duma’s expert council for the rocket and space industry.
The agreement between Moscow and Washington stipulating the delivery of 101 RD-180 rocket engines to the United States and estimated at about $1 billion was signed in 1997. The U.S. Congress earlier imposed a ban on the use of these engines after 2019 amid deteriorating relations with Russia but later lifted it when it became clear that the United States would be unable to develop engines of its own in the coming years.
Immediately after that, the ULA consortium ordered an additional 20 RD-180 engines from Russia’s Energomash until 2020.
In December 2014, U.S. Orbital Sciences Corporation agreed on buying eight RD-181 rocket engines from Energomash for Antares carrier rockets. The Russian enterprise delivered four such engines to the United States in 2015.