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US to buy 60 Russian rocket engines worth $1 bln — company

January 16, 2015, 9:11 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The RD-181 engines will be used for the first stage of the Antares rockets, manufactured by Orbital Sciences
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© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Filippov

MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. Russia's manufacturer NPO Energomash is to provide 60 new RD-181 rocket engines for US company Orbital Sciences, the Izvestia newspaper reported on Friday citing the president of RKK Energia space corporation.

A contract for the delivery of 20 rocket engines has already been signed, says Vladimir Solntsev, who participated in the deal representing Energomash, as he is the executive director of the group.

“We are committed to deliver 60 engines. Three options have been signed, each for 20 engines. There is a firm contract for 20 engines, which we have started fulfilling, as we are due to supply the first two engines next June,” Solntsev told the newspaper in an interview.

Energomash, one of the world's leading rocket engine manufacturers, and Russia’s United Rocket and Space Corporation have received all the necessary permissions from government bodies for the delivery of the RD-181 engines for Orbital Sciences, he said.

“The contract envisages restrictions for the use of RD-181 engines in military programs,” Solntsev said, explaining that the rockets with the engine cannot be used for launching military spacecraft.

The contract worth around $1 billion for 60 engines includes not only the costs of the engine production but also a whole range of services - flight training, installing the rocket engine and conducting tests.

“I believe the contract is focused on cooperation within 15-25 years, as no one will regularly change engines on a rocket,” he added.

The RD-181 engines will be used for the first stage of the Antares rockets, manufactured by Orbital Sciences. These rockets earlier used AJ-26 engines which were made on the basis of Soviet NK-33.

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