Aviation News

May 12, 2011

Russia Accuses Atlas Rocket Engine Builder of Selling to United States Below Cost

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By: BNO News
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The Russian Comptroller’s Office on Wednesday informed that Energomash, an engineering corporation, was accused of selling rocket engines to the United States at half of the production cost.

Energomash RD-180 engine on an Atlas V rocket.

Energomash RD-180 engine on an Atlas V rocket. (Photo courtesy of NASA)

According to RIA Novosti, the Russian company sold many RD-180 engines between 2008 and 2009 at a much lower price which resulted in the loss of $32 million or 68 percent of Energomash’s total losses.

The Comptroller’s Office did not disclose how many rocket engines were supplied to the U.S. in the period. The RD-180s are used in the Atlas V rocket’s first stage.

The Russian-made RD-180 liquid-fuel rocket engine uses an extremely efficient, high-pressure staged combustion cycle. It is considered among the best in its class worldwide.

Energomash develops and manufactures most of the rocket engines for Russian booster rockets. The rights to use the RD-180 engines were acquired by General Dynamics Space Systems Division which was later purchased by Lockheed Martin and are produced in Russia through a joint venture with Pratt & Whitney.

In May 2000, the Russian engine was first incorporated on the Atlas III carrier rocket. Since then, the RD-180 has powered 28 delivery rockets from the NASA’s Atlas program.