NASA has resorted to buying Russian spacecraft to filling its portion of support for the International Space Station (Senate clears NASA to buy Russian spaceships) This is a short term solution, but it might be the cheapest long term solution, as well. The shuttle costs an exhorbitant amount of money for each launch (at least $760 million per launch) and every problem results delays from months to years. The most cost-effective commercial American heavy booster already uses a Russian made rocket engine. The Atlas V heavy-lifter uses the Russian RD-180 engine and costs about $138 million per launch as compared to the Delta IV's American Rocketdyne RS-86 that launches for about $254 million per launch. France's Ariane 5 runs about $180 million per launch and Russia's Proton runs about $75 million per launch (Ukraine's Zenit runs about $45 million per launch, but they're still considered a little unreliable). The 'space race' isn't exactly the biggest problem confronting the US right now, but our current state is certainly a setback from the image the US enjoyed even 10 years ago.