- Oct 9, 2009
- Reaction score
ULA had sent out a request for information asking the U.S. aerospace industry earlier this year for ideas on how to replace the Russian-built RD-180 that powers ULA's heavy-lift Atlas 5 rockets, which are used to launch many U.S. military and spy satellites.
Tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine have raised concerns that Russia could cut off deliveries of the RD-180 engines, according to U.S. officials, who hope to start funding work on a U.S. alternative in the Pentagon's 2016 budget.
The partnership agreement will pit Bezos against Elon Musk, founder and chief executive of Space Exploration Technologies Corp, or SpaceX, which is seeking certification from the Air Force for its own Falcon 9 rockets.
The certification was due to be completed by the end of this year, but may now slip into next year, according to U.S. officials. They said the process may be slowed while officials look into the recent explosion of a SpaceX experimental rocket that uses the same engine as the Falcon 9.