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US to continue using Russian engines for Atlas launch vehicles, says expert

MOSCOW, November 19. /TASS/. The United States plans to continue using Russian RD-180 rocket engines for its Atlas launch vehicles, NASA Associate Administrator for Space Operations William Gerstenmaier told TASS on Monday.

"We will still staying with RD-180 in Atlas," Gerstenmaier said. The Space Launch System (SLS), the new big rocket, will have main engines from the Shuttle, he added.

Energomash is supplying RD-180 rocket engines to the United States for Atlas III and Atlas V launch vehicles. The first agreement on RD-180 engines was made in 1997 and provided for delivery of 101 engines. The US Congress imposed a ban on RD-180 engines use in 2014 in view of deteriorated relations with Russia but canceled it a year later, when it became clear that the United States will not develop its engines in coming years. The US ordered 18 extra RD-180 engines from Energomash in 2016.