Space Industry Isn’t Worried About Loss of Russian Engines

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.'s  (SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket stands in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., in this handout photo made available to the media on on May 18, 2012.

Photograph by Roger Gilbertson/ SpaceX via Bloomberg

Space Exploration Technologies Corp.’s
(SpaceX) Falcon 9 rocket stands in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., in this handout photo made available to the media on on May 18, 2012.

Russian calls to keep its rocket engines away from the U.S. are most likely more bluster than a real threat, says Michael Lopez-Alegria, president of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation.

Lopez-Alegria, whose trade group counts Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin LLC as members, says he isn’t concerned that Russia would stop selling the engines, which are used in U.S. rockets to launch military and spy  satellites. Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who issued the threats, is a “little bit of a loose cannon,” Lopez-Alegria said.

“I would be surprised if this threat really materializes,” he said.  “It’s a lot of revenue that they would be giving up.”

Musk has said that the use of Russian engines by United Launch Alliance, which now handles all large military satellite launches, could threaten national security. He is seeking a share of the almost $70 billion military launch business, and has sued the Air Force to be allowed to compete.

 

 

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