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US company to buy billion dollars worth of rocket engines from Russia

December 17, 2014, 8:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW MOSCOW December, 17. /TASS
Russia's Energomash will deliver 60 engines to the US Orbital Sciences corporation
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© AP Photo/NASA, Bill Ingalls

MOSCOW, December 17. /TASS/. Russia’s Energomash scientific and production company has concluded a contract to deliver rocket engines to the US corporation Orbital Sciences, the Izvestia newspaper said on Wednesday.

The engines will be used for the first stage of Antares rockets beginning 2015.

Energomash will deliver 60 engines to the US corporation, the newspaper cited a high-ranking Roscosmos source as saying. There is a contract to supply 20 engines, and the work has already started to deliver the first two units in June, and there are two more options, each for 20 units.

The contract is concluded directly between Orbital Sciences and Energomash.

The contract costs about one billion dollars. It includes the cost of engines and services - flight preparations, the installation of an engine on a rocket and tests.

The Russian space agency source said the RD-181 engine was developed specially for the Antares. The development was based on the Angara RD-191, he added.

Energomash and Orbital Sciences gave no comments.

It was the second big contract concluded between Energomash and the US company, the newspaper said.

In late 1990, the Russian scientific centre situated in Khimki near Moscow won a contract to supply RD-180 engines to the US United Launch Alliance company for Atlas rockets. The Alliance is a joint company of Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

As TASS reported earlier, a draft law on allocations for military needs for the fiscal year of 2015 passed by the Senate of the Congress on December 12 had an amendment banning further purchases of Russian RD-180 engines for American Atlas rockets. The document specifies that $220 million would be provided for development of an American rocket engine to replace Russian RD180s. The Pentagon must develop such a new engine by the end of 2018.

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