MOSCOW, April 10. /TASS/. Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos is considering exporting RD-180 rocket engines to other countries, apart from the United States, Roscosmos Head Igor Komarov said in an interview with NTV television channel on Monday.
"We see serious efforts and huge funds that are allocated for this purpose [for the substitution of Russian rocket engines in the United States]. We understand that the substitution issues will be somehow resolved sooner or later. In view of this, we are working on other directions, other countries for the export of engines and, if possible, for the establishment of joint ventures. These issues are being studied," Komarov said.
The United States obtained a license more than ten years ago for the production of RD-180 engines and their analogs but has failed to organize their output so far, the Roscosmos head said.
The US decision to give up Russian rocket engines "will hardly critically affect the development of the engine-making industry in Russia," Komarov said.
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 US 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, US 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.