Russia says it will stop selling rocket engines to the US

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Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,522   +1,055
Staff member
Facepalm: Russia continues to get pounded by global sanctions. From tech firms to social media, companies worldwide are putting the squeeze on Russia over the country's invasion of Ukraine. In an attempt to bite back at the US, Russia has announced it will no longer sell rocket engines to the United States. However, the threat is all bark and no bite since the US has a stockpile that will last for the next three years, at which point it will transition to American-made engines.

In response to US sanctions against Russia, its state space agency, Roscosmos, said it will no longer supply the United States with rocket engines. Reuters notes that Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the agency, made the somewhat humorous announcement on state-sponsored outlet Russia 24 TV.

"In a situation like this, we can't supply the United States with our world's best rocket engines. Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don't know what," said Rogozin.

Rogozin's choice of words was not the only funny thing about the sanction. The US doesn't even need any more Russian engines. Although it was in talks to purchase 12 more between 2022 and 2024, the US already has a surplus that will get it through 2025.

The engine in question is the RD-180 used in Atlas V rockets to send payloads to the International Space Station. NASA has used these for decades, but in recent years the US space agency has been making a transition to the Vulcan rocket powered by BE-4 engines made by Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin. So Russia's tit-for-tat sanction lacks any teeth.

Testing of the BE-4 engine began in 2017. United Launch Alliance (ULA), which supplies NASA, is already poised to provide the BE-4s for practical missions very soon.

"The first flight BE-4s are in the Blue factory now, doing well," ULA CEO Tory Bruno told The Verge. "We have personnel imbedded to help and monitor."

The Russian threat comes after the ULA had already scheduled a Vulcan launch for later this year. The payload will be Astrobiotic's "Peregrine" lunar lander.

Of course, having one BE-4 ready by the end of the year does nothing for the rest of ULA's contracts. However, Bruno says that ULA already secured about two dozen RD-180 engines from Russia. They are sitting in one of its facilities in Alabama. That procurement alone covers all of ULA's Atlus missions contracted through 2025.

Image credit: N2e (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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psycros

Posts: 4,233   +6,032
Whoopdee doo! US only used their stuff because it was relatively cheap, but private space companies are changing that (although they still get an awful lot of government subsidies).
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 709   +601
As if we are going to miss their engines. The Russians must have forgotten that the US developed the most powerful engine ever - the F1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rocketdyne_F-1 There's a design that could easily be brought out of mothballs and be more than powerful enough for US needs for a long time.
except that you won't find the vintage hardware suppliers to manufacture an obsolete engine that is much less capable than modern hardware

Same reason the SR-71 tooling will never be rebuilt to fly an obsolete plane!

Same reason the Space Shuttle Designs were out of date on the very first day the shuttle flew!

Time marches on
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
except that you won't find the vintage hardware suppliers to manufacture an obsolete engine that is much less capable than modern hardware

Same reason the SR-71 tooling will never be rebuilt to fly an obsolete plane!

Same reason the Space Shuttle Designs were out of date on the very first day the shuttle flew!

Time marches on
So we should stick with Russian engines? I think not. The whole point of my post was that the US does not lack expertise in the field, and will laugh this Russian Engine ban off as meaningless.
 

Bullwinkle M

Posts: 709   +601
So we should stick with Russian engines? I think not. The whole point of my post was that the US does not lack expertise in the field, and will laugh this Russian Engine ban off as meaningless.
So we should stick with 60 year old technology? I think not. The whole point of my post was that we do not lack the expertise

We simply lack the ability to build what works in a timely fashion at a cost that we can afford

We had much better designs than the space shuttle before it ever launched, but....

We could not afford it, and were force fed technologies that were obsolete before they were even finished

That's why we were stuck with a shuttle that explodes after liftoff or disintegrates during re-entry using computerized systems that were several years out of date on the very first flight

Yes, "WE" have the technology!
and no, "YOU" cannot afford it!
 

Mr Majestyk

Posts: 1,262   +1,149
LOL, so exactly who will buying their engines then. It's not like there's a massive market for rocket engines. Anyway zero effs given. I hope Russia financially collapses and Putin and the entire Russian government are thrown in prison after the revolution.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,821   +6,787
So we should stick with 60 year old technology? I think not. The whole point of my post was that we do not lack the expertise

We simply lack the ability to build what works in a timely fashion at a cost that we can afford
Like the engine technology, itself, manufacturing technology has not stood still. You would be surprised what can now be done that could not be done then.
We had much better designs than the space shuttle before it ever launched, but....

We could not afford it, and were force fed technologies that were obsolete before they were even finished
That's your take. However, many lessons were learned. In fact, one component that failed, and was subsequently corrected, is slated to be used on the latest NASA heavy lift vehicle.
That's why we were stuck with a shuttle that explodes after liftoff or disintegrates during re-entry using computerized systems that were several years out of date on the very first flight
Its rather misleading to say that we are stuck with an exploding shuttle or one that disintegrates because - we are not.
Yes, "WE" have the technology!
and no, "YOU" cannot afford it!
I suppose if you think it cannot be done, then YOU cannot afford it. Like I said, manufacturing technology has progressed far beyond what was capable when the F1 was actively in production.

Besides, the article says that we have enough engines through 2025 already. I think the US has nearly learned that "its too expensive" is a BS excuse.
 

Prosercunus

Posts: 332   +227
Anyone recall someone saying America First and getting slammed? America First !

Trump's the kind of guy that actually had decent policies, but people couldn't get over his crude nature, because, well... people are weak, that's the fact of the matter. Biden is a freaking disaster, but at least he is diplomatic? Doesn't seem to help my energy bill or my gas tank.
 

MaXtor

Posts: 411   +420
Russian Embassy Canada

I can't say whether this is good or bad.

I wish Americans remembered history, or at least thought critically about it. We're lied to constantly. Now, of course Putin is a dictator, so don't trust their propaganda media either. But I suspect neither narratives are real, it's probably something else entirely. Although, going by recent history, Russia's propaganda sounds more believable.

Remember WMDs? America invaded Iraq because they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction," after killing countless civilians, we knew by 2008 that it wasn't true, they didn't have WMDs. What happened after that? America stayed in Iraq for half a decade (and returned shortly after leaving). It's always bullshit. America makes trillions of dollars financing wars with tax dollars.

I think the real story is that America was targeting Iran. Iraq is on Iran's western border and Afghanistan is on Iran's eastern border. The American military occupied the two countries which cover Iran's largest borders.

Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? When Russia installed missiles in Cuba to target the US? Long story short, Americans are banned from visiting Cuba, and American military still occupy Guantanamo Bay.

Now, considering that, Russia's version of the story seems closer to the truth. America is (likely) installing military facilities in the Ukraine, on Russia's border. Sound familiar? They're targeting Russia and Russia isn't having it.

Anyways, disclaimer, this is all speculation. But knowing history, we can't blindly accept the official narrative (from either side), so we should question what we're told. Now, that's too simple, I'm probably wrong, but I remember history, I know better than to cheer lead the narrative.
 

umbala

Posts: 642   +1,124
Trump's the kind of guy that actually had decent policies, but people couldn't get over his crude nature, because, well... people are weak, that's the fact of the matter. Biden is a freaking disaster, but at least he is diplomatic? Doesn't seem to help my energy bill or my gas tank.
Trump had decent policies? HAHAHA. I doubt he could SPELL the word "policies". Biden is a disaster? Of course he is! Any liberal president to you people is a disaster no matter what he does. You know who else had decent policies? Hitler. But people couldn't get over his... oh wait.

Oh and people couldn't get over Trump's crude nature because they're weak? Wow, really? It wasn't because Trump was a racist, bigoted, brain-dead, *****, con-man, right?
 

sreams

Posts: 307   +437
Trump had decent policies? HAHAHA. I doubt he could SPELL the word "policies". Biden is a disaster? Of course he is! Any liberal president to you people is a disaster no matter what he does. You know who else had decent policies? Hitler. But people couldn't get over his... oh wait.

Oh and people couldn't get over Trump's crude nature because they're weak? Wow, really? It wasn't because Trump was a racist, bigoted, brain-dead, *****, con-man, right?

You might want to take a look at recent polling. Biden being a disaster has nothing to do with him being liberal. Nearly everybody disapproves of him.
 

Kotters

Posts: 385   +287
This thread full of people who don't know **** about spaceflight but sure have opinions.

The Russian engines the US uses are fantastic; there's a reason why they're used. However, they're also on the way out and have been since Crimea. ULA has already secured all the engines they need for their final flights before Vulcan is supposed to fly. Antares is ****ed, but it primarily launches Cygnus; that can feasibly ride on a Falcon 9.

ULA and Blue Origin are both planning to use the eternally delayed BE-4 engine, which is built in the US by Blue Origin themselves. The flight articles still haven't been delivered, and are about half a decade late.

SLS is going to use a modified RS-25 engine that was used on the Shuttle, though it's so overdue, expensive, and low production that it'll never be a feasible launch provider outside of congressional mandates.

That leaves smallsat launchers, a few New Space hopefuls like the future Terran and Neutron, and the tremendously successful SpaceX for US launch services. The Falcon 9 is the cheapest launch vehicle in its class by a huge margin, and already among the most reliable launchers ever. It's human-rated, maintains a rapid launch cadence, and may soon be obsoleted by its successor.

Tl;dr: US spaceflight and launch services outside of SpaceX are tenuous at best (or limited to small sats), but it's not at all because of the Russians. The US was already in the process of abandoning them.

And as an aside, the idea of rebuilding F-1s is absurd. The amount of hands-on, skilled labor required just doesn't exist anymore. You may want to look into the modernization that was proposed for liquid boosters for SLS.
 

Watzupken

Posts: 634   +518
Russian Embassy Canada

I can't say whether this is good or bad.

I wish Americans remembered history, or at least thought critically about it. We're lied to constantly. Now, of course Putin is a dictator, so don't trust their propaganda media either. But I suspect neither narratives are real, it's probably something else entirely. Although, going by recent history, Russia's propaganda sounds more believable.

Remember WMDs? America invaded Iraq because they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction," after killing countless civilians, we knew by 2008 that it wasn't true, they didn't have WMDs. What happened after that? America stayed in Iraq for half a decade (and returned shortly after leaving). It's always bullshit. America makes trillions of dollars financing wars with tax dollars.

I think the real story is that America was targeting Iran. Iraq is on Iran's western border and Afghanistan is on Iran's eastern border. The American military occupied the two countries which cover Iran's largest borders.

Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? When Russia installed missiles in Cuba to target the US? Long story short, Americans are banned from visiting Cuba, and American military still occupy Guantanamo Bay.

Now, considering that, Russia's version of the story seems closer to the truth. America is (likely) installing military facilities in the Ukraine, on Russia's border. Sound familiar? They're targeting Russia and Russia isn't having it.

Anyways, disclaimer, this is all speculation. But knowing history, we can't blindly accept the official narrative (from either side), so we should question what we're told. Now, that's too simple, I'm probably wrong, but I remember history, I know better than to cheer lead the narrative.
The truth is that no country will be willing to spend money to save another. US particularly have shown this trend where they rally allies for their own agenda. I don’t think this Russia and Ukraine incident is any different.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,502   +2,723
In another news, Russia also bans sale of their rice chop sticks to Japan...

This is the proof that whoever running Russia is dead drunk and permanently on high.
Putin is 69 years old, he's gone senile and maybe something else is kicking in like dementia or something. He essentially murders any political opposition and has billionaires backing him, there is no one to fight him internally in Russia.

I do wonder what will happen with the huge amount of pressure the west have put on Russia though. Their economy is going to suffer from this and Ukraine won't bring in any money, specially since they're shelling pretty much everything.

Last night they even started shelling the biggest nuclear reactor in the whole of Europe which just so happens to be in Ukraine. I don't understand that, why would you attack such an expensive and potentially "nuclear disaster prone" piece of infrastructure?
 

emmzo

Posts: 630   +832
Putin is 69 years old, he's gone senile and maybe something else is kicking in like dementia or something. He essentially murders any political opposition and has billionaires backing him, there is no one to fight him internally in Russia.

I do wonder what will happen with the huge amount of pressure the west have put on Russia though. Their economy is going to suffer from this and Ukraine won't bring in any money, specially since they're shelling pretty much everything.

Last night they even started shelling the biggest nuclear reactor in the whole of Europe which just so happens to be in Ukraine. I don't understand that, why would you attack such an expensive and potentially "nuclear disaster prone" piece of infrastructure?
Because Putin is a vengeful demented warmonger, bent on recreating USSR, threatening nuclear disaster if anyone crosses him and the western world is full of "useful *****s", apologists, plancing the blame on US policies or so called "nazi" Ukraine for the death and suffering of a democratic nation. But he will not stop with Ukraine, he said it already, NATO and the free world is his enemy, we are all "nazis" to him, he will push until he reaches the Berlin wall, to create his version of "Lebensraum", vital russian space and money is not his concern as long as China backs him up.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,502   +2,723
Because Putin is a vengeful demented warmonger, bent on recreating USSR, threatening nuclear disaster if anyone crosses him and the western world is full of "useful *****s", apologists, plancing the blame on US policies or so called "nazi" Ukraine for the death and suffering of a democratic nation. But he will not stop with Ukraine, he said it already, NATO and the free world is his enemy, we are all "nazis" to him, he will push until he reaches the Berlin wall, to create his version of "Lebensraum", vital russian space and money is not his concern as long as China backs him up.
I don't think China will back him up though. China's history shows they follow UN rules (China uses this framework to criticise the US when it breaks those rules). Their economy is struggling (Housing market is crashing and they are defaulting on massive amounts of debt) and Russia's economy is in and will be in an even worse state.

China has been pretty quiet so far, they've put some limited sanctions in against Russian banks but I reckon if push came to shove, they'd side with the west, It'd be the least harmful outcome for China and they'd still get to stick to their principles.

When I say "side with the West" I mean they won't actively fight on Russia's side, they'd probably just not get involved at all.
 

Geralt

Posts: 1,140   +1,770
Russian Embassy Canada

I can't say whether this is good or bad.

I wish Americans remembered history, or at least thought critically about it. We're lied to constantly. Now, of course Putin is a dictator, so don't trust their propaganda media either. But I suspect neither narratives are real, it's probably something else entirely. Although, going by recent history, Russia's propaganda sounds more believable.

Remember WMDs? America invaded Iraq because they had "Weapons of Mass Destruction," after killing countless civilians, we knew by 2008 that it wasn't true, they didn't have WMDs. What happened after that? America stayed in Iraq for half a decade (and returned shortly after leaving). It's always bullshit. America makes trillions of dollars financing wars with tax dollars.

I think the real story is that America was targeting Iran. Iraq is on Iran's western border and Afghanistan is on Iran's eastern border. The American military occupied the two countries which cover Iran's largest borders.

Remember the Cuban Missile Crisis? When Russia installed missiles in Cuba to target the US? Long story short, Americans are banned from visiting Cuba, and American military still occupy Guantanamo Bay.

Now, considering that, Russia's version of the story seems closer to the truth. America is (likely) installing military facilities in the Ukraine, on Russia's border. Sound familiar? They're targeting Russia and Russia isn't having it.

Anyways, disclaimer, this is all speculation. But knowing history, we can't blindly accept the official narrative (from either side), so we should question what we're told. Now, that's too simple, I'm probably wrong, but I remember history, I know better than to cheer lead the narrative.
All superpowers suck, unfortunately.
 

Mister_K

Posts: 2,166   +863
LOL, so exactly who will buying their engines then. It's not like there's a massive market for rocket engines. Anyway zero effs given. I hope Russia financially collapses and Putin and the entire Russian government are thrown in prison after the revolution.

Get publicly hanged or stoned would better.
 
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