European Mars mission caught in US-Russia tensions

Since the start of the Ukraine criss, the United States and Russia have exchanged space-related sanctions and other measures in recent weeks. Canada, meanwhile, pulled several small satellites that were scheduled to launch in June on a Soyuz. (Russia has subsequently delayed the overall launch for “organizational reasons.”)

Europe has not followed, though, in part [...]

Final export control rule offers some tweaks, but no major changes

Lost in yesterday’s news from Russia was a major milestone for the commercial space industry: after more than a decade of effort, the State Department issued its interim final rule for the revised Category XV of the US Munitions List, which covers satellites and related components. Like the proposed Category XV list released nearly a [...]

Russian official announces ban on military use of RD-180 engines (updated)

The saga of the use of the RD-180 engine in the United States took a new turn on Tuesday when Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin indicated that RD-180 engines exported to the US for use on the Atlas V could not be used for launches of military payloads. “Russia is ready to continue deliveries [...]

Deciding whether, and how, to reproduce or replace the RD-180

In this week’s issue of The Space Review, I provide an overview of the current debate about the RD-180 engine, including a blow-by-blow of the injunction briefly in place that blocked payments to the engine’s manufacturer, NPO Energomash, as well as the provision in the House defense authorization bill that would start work on a [...]

Industry warns of dangers of cutting FAA commercial space budget

Earlier this week the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee marked up its fiscal year 2015 spending bill. The bill includes funding for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), including $16 million for the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). That’s less than the $16.6 million requested [...]

Court lifts RD-180 injunction

The US Court of Federal Claims issued an order today formally lifting the injunction on payments to and from NPO Energomash for RD-180 engines used by United Launch Alliance’s Atlas V rocket. In the two-page order, Judge Susan Braden said her decision was based on the letters she received from the Departments of Commerce, State, [...]

Hearing set for today on motion to lift RD-180 injunction

The US Court of Federal Claims has scheduled a hearing for 10 am Eastern this morning regarding the motion filed by the US government on Tuesday to lift the preliminary injunction blocking payments to Energomash, the Russian company that manufactures the RD-180 engines used on the Atlas V. In filings with the court Tuesday, government [...]

Government files motion to lift RD-180 injunction

Late Tuesday the US Government, the defendant in SpaceX’s EELV lawsuit, formally filed a motion with the US Court of Federal Claims to lift the injunction the court issued last week blocking the government from purchasing RD-180 rocket engines from Russian company Energomash. The government provided letters from the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, and State [...]

Griffin endorses Mars 2021 mission concept

While the concept of a human Mars flyby mission launching in 2021 got the attention of some in Congress in late February, the proposed mission, based on designs developed by Inspiration Mars, has maintained a low profile since then. The authorization bill that the House Science Committee approved last week does require NASA to perform [...]

A war of words in EELV court filings (updated)

Since the preliminary injunction issued by the US Court of Federal Claims late Wednesday that blocked the US Air Force and United Launch Alliance (ULA) from making any payments to NPO Energomash, the Russian company that manufactures the RD-180 engine used by ULA’s Atlas V, there has been a increasingly heated war of words among [...]