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Letter: Space program must stop relying on Russian engines

Space program must stop relying on Russian engines

The failure of a SpaceX rocket over Florida on Sunday should not lead U.S. officials to give up on continuing development of the U.S. rocket engine to eliminate reliance on a Russian-made engine used to lift government satellites into space. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved $100 million to the military budget to start work on a new rocket and maintain focus on the schedule for the United States to be able to have AR1 ready to fly in 2019, keeping our country on track to end dependence on Russian engines. The AR1 engine is a replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 engines.

By incorporating new effective manufacturing processes, materials and techniques into the plan, the U.S. government and business partners will offer the nation a timely, cost-efficient path to end reliance on the Russian engines.

The recent developments in Ukraine and new Russian influence on the global political arena prove that it’s long overdue for the U.S. military to stop relying on Russia and become independent in developing and producing space and satellite engines. These important military projects are long overdue and have cost the taxpayers a lot of money.

Zanna Vaida