The Northrop Grumman Antares rockets used to fly NASA cargo to the International Space Station (ISS) have been using Russian RD-181 engines. Now, those engines are being replaced with American-made Firefly Aerospace engines. The decision to switch engine manufacturers came when Russian officials halted exports of rocket engines to the U.S. in March in response to U.S. sanctions. Micah Maidenberg of The Wall Street Journal reports (abridged):
A new version of a Northrop Grumman Corp. NOC -1.58%▼ rocket that flies NASA cargo to the International Space Station is expected to use U.S.-made engines for future launches, the aerospace company said Monday, a shift away from its reliance on Russian motors.
Russian officials halted exports of rocket engines to the U.S. in March after the Biden administration moved to sanction the country for invading Ukraine. The war stressed international cooperation in space, requiring some satellite companies to find alternatives to launching on Russian rockets and scuttling some science missions.
Northrop Grumman said Monday it will use engines that Firefly Aerospace, a Cedar Park, Texas-based space company is developing, for a future version of its Antares rocket.
The current Antares vehicles use Russian engines called RD-181s. It also uses hardware from a Ukrainian supplier for the first part of flights. Northrop Grumman conducts supply runs to the space station for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration with that version of the rocket.
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