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News The RD180 rocket engine

  1. Dec 6, 2014 #1
    What do you guys think about the recent vote where the house of reps decided to ban (100-300 or so) imports of these Russian rocket engines? Seems like politicians and corporations looking to make a buck (like SpaceX) have succeeded in their lobbying for the ban on RD180 engine import. Is it OK to let aggressive neocons like McCain hurt relations with Russia even more, at the cost of an extremely expensive program to develop a domestic substitute?

    some background:
    http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2014/11/atk-expand-alternative-atlasv-rd-180/
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 6, 2014 #2

    Doug Huffman

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    Yep, capitalism is tough in a free market. With geopolitical tensions, profiteering becomes even more difficult.
     
  4. Dec 6, 2014 #3

    russ_watters

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    Do you have any references on the lobbying by domestic companies? Or of this vote? I'm not seeing information about either in the news or via a quick google search.

    Anyway, there already is a program for a replacement and this issue has been a political football between the US and Russia for years, getting much worse earlier this year due to tensions with Russia. Ostensibly, this ban would be about Russia's conduct in the Ukraine, so it seems a bit odd to suggest that McCain/GOP is hurting our relations with Russia -- it is Putin who has become a 3rd world dictator-level outcast.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/03/us-usa-defense-policy-rocket-idUSKCN0JH2B120141203
     
  5. Dec 6, 2014 #4

    mheslep

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    Last edited: Dec 6, 2014
  6. Dec 7, 2014 #5
    Russ Here http://www.spacenews.com/article/military-space/40473spacex-says-ula-must-prove-rd-180-money-doesn’t-go-to-rogozin [Broken]. And the vote was about the defence budget I think,, the RD180 ban & import substitution was a specific part of it.


    mheslep Yeah and I guess I'd have the same opinion too if I was spoonfed nothing but anti-Russian propaganda for 6 months straight... Anyway this deal is going to make the US waste huge amounts of money on developing a substitute which may or may be successful. Perhaps they'll even have to re-design parts of the Atlas V vehicle as well. Is that worth it just to throw more gasoline on the fire?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  7. Dec 7, 2014 #6

    russ_watters

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    What does that have to do with my question or your previous claim? You claimed that they were lobbying for a ban.
    Oy. You're living in a dream world. The entirety of the western world is not delusional here: Russia did do the things we're talking about.
    I find it strange and imprudent that we are having to rely on an adversary for military equipment. So I fully support designing our own engine, regardless of other issues. That this will punish Putin further for his thuggery is just a bonus.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 7, 2017
  8. Dec 7, 2014 #7

    Doug Huffman

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    Rocket engines are not in general military equipment. On information and belief, all US strategic rockets use solid propellant motors.
     
  9. Dec 7, 2014 #8

    russ_watters

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    They are when they carry military satellites.
     
  10. Dec 7, 2014 #9
    Did we read the same article? SpaceX is manipulating government policy into hurting its rival. What do you define by lobbying anyway? Only buying expensive gifts for congressmen?

    I'm not saying Russia did not do the acts, I was criticizing his opinion of Russia being 100% in the bad and deserving of nonsense like this ban.

    Unless the US is planning on starting a full economical war with Russia, I doubt the RD180 exports would be stopped and even if they were it wouldn't make much difference as the USAF have years worth of them stored in reserve. More likely the reason the imports are stopped is because there are some aerospace companies who are going to make allot of money on government contracts.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  11. Dec 7, 2014 #10

    russ_watters

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    I've never heard of filing a lawsuit as being a form of lobbying and the wiki on the subject doesn't mention it:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lobbying

    Regardless of definition issues, I see nothing in that article about McCain or other US politicians, nor any direct relationship with the vote you are referring to. So again, the thesis of your OP is completely unsupported.
     
  12. Dec 7, 2014 #11
    Your concern for US well-being is disingenuous at best.

    US already has rather good hydrocarbon engines from SpaceX (Merlin-1). If all else fails, at least these engines exist, right now.

    SpaceX is already working on bigger, hopefully better methane ones.
    And SpaceX is not the only one who works on new engines.
    Aerojet has full IP rights to former NK-33s and had advanced plans to domestically produce a derivative (this is now in serious doubt after NK-33 failed in recent Antares flight).
    ULA, unwilling to work with its competitor SpaceX, instead contracts Blue Origin who claim they are close to producing their own large methane engine.
     
  13. Dec 7, 2014 #12
    None of that is in the same weight class as the RD180. And don't worry I'm not concerned at all. Indeed, I care very little about the USA and what internal policies you choose to pursue (no offence). The reason I made this thread was cause I was curious if Americans here preferred a path of cooperation in space industry or pointless embargoes at russuan companies that have nothing to do with Putin.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  14. Dec 7, 2014 #13
    Does it matter?

    US currently has the heaviest operational launcher - Delta IV Heavy.
    US just got something it lacked for a very long time - a very cheap yet middle-class by weight launcher, Falcon-9 by SpaceX. It threatens to become so cheap that ALL other launch vehicles are at risk of becoming noncompetitive, even Russian ones.
    SpaceX prepares the first launch of Falcon Heavy in 2015, which will give US a cheap, AND the most powerful launcher in the world.

    The above does not require any new engines.
     
  15. Dec 7, 2014 #14

    mheslep

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    I did not say Russia was "100% in the bad" or make any such absolute statement. However, the Russian government has done and continues to do as the various references indicate. In my opinion action should be taken to exact a penalty so that the Russian action stops and future behavior is discouraged. The US and EU sanctions currently in place against Russia *and* the possibility of cancelling the import of the RD180 are appropriate and necessary actions, at least.
     
  16. Dec 7, 2014 #15

    mheslep

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    Possibly excepting the black market, all economic activity between the US and Russia has to do with Putin.
     
  17. Dec 8, 2014 #16
    mheslep, except this isn't a case where Russia deserves punishment, this is a case where Russia receives punishment due to geopolitical considerations. The morality of the support of the rebels in the east and the annexation of Crimea can be discussed just as well as the morality of EU+US actions aimed at toppling a democratic regime and idiotically installing an opposition that disenfranchised half the population. This retarded "we should punish corrupt Putin for all his evil acts" line of thinking is just a result of brainwashing really.

    lol do you think they're going to launch medium-weight payloads with the Delta IVH with any degree of commercial viability? Listen, Atlas V fills a specific role, and that role needs Russian engines. Without them, the US will have to develop new ones. It's that simple. If you think otherwise, you sure should write to the USAF immediately and save them from spending an estimated billion+ dollars on a new engine.
     
  18. Dec 8, 2014 #17

    russ_watters

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    We know -- that's why it was disingenuous to express concern in the OP.
    If we set aside Putin's actions, I would still prefer to build our own rockets. The US space program has always been a source of national pride in the US and we should not have let it decay.

    But it does still make it strange why you would start this thread, since so far your main point has been false or at best unsupported, and you don't care about the US so you don't care about how this affects us economically despite saying so in the OP, I'd still really like to know where these ideas are coming from. It just seems very random.
     
  19. Dec 8, 2014 #18

    russ_watters

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    That's really what this is all about, isn't it? You're mad that we're punishing Russia with sanctions in general. Well, he deserves it:
    There is no equivalency here. One sovereign country invaded an annexed part of another. There is no way to twist Western support for Ukraine into an equivalency with that.
    Again, we know you have no concern for the US, so why pretend to? Yeah, it'll take time and cost us money to develop new engines. So what? You don't actually care about that so stop saying it!
     
  20. Dec 8, 2014 #19
    Except the vast majority of the local population in Crimea wanted to nothing more than be annexed by Russia, while only the western oriented part of Ukraine wanted the western "support" of maidan. Things aren't as black and white as you think.
     
  21. Dec 8, 2014 #20
    Even more vast majority of the local population in Chechnya (97%) are ethnic Chechens and they want to be independent. Somehow, there your rules are suddenly different - their opinion doesn't matter.
     
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