U.S. Air Force Mulls Plans to Replace Russian Rocket Engines

Air Force competition to develop a rocket propulsion system to end dependence on Russian rocket engines drew broad response from companies, the Air Force said on Friday. General Samuel Greaves, who heads the Air Force’s Space and Missiles Systems Center, said during a webcast hearing of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee. Russia’s RD-180 engines power the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rockets that fly most of the military’s satellites. The Air Force intends to divide $160 million in seed funds among four companies before the end of 2015.