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MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. Russian space manufacturer Energomash has sent to its US contractor four RD-180 rocket engines that run on United Launch Alliance-built Atlas 5 rockets, the Russian company said on Thursday.
"Another four RD-180 rocket engines have been sent to a US contractor. To date, Atlas-family rockets have conducted 77 successful flights in a row with the use of the RD-180 engines," Energomash said in a statement.
Energomash CEO Igor Arbuzov told TASS last December that his company planned to deliver 19 rocket engines to the United States in 2017. 11 of them are to be installed on ULA’s Atlas rockets and eight on Orbital ATK-made Antares rockets. Yuri Vlasov, the CEO of the United Rocket and Space Corporation, estimates that the deliveries of Russian-made rocket engines to the United States will continue until 2024.
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.
About two years ago, the US Congress 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 next three years. Immediately after that, the ULA consortium ordered an additional 20 RD-180 engines from Energomash until 2020.
In December 2014, US Orbital Sciences Corporation agreed on buying eight RD-181 rocket engines from Energomash for Antares carrier rockets. Four such engines were delivered to the US in 2015.