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Air Force Issues RFI for RD-180 Engine Replacement

By Caleb Henry | August 25, 2014
      RD-180 DoD Atlas 5

      RD-180 engines. Photo: ULA/NASA

      [Via Satellite 08-25-2014] The United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (AFSPC) has issued a Request for Information (RFI) on a new booster as well as a potential new launch system for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Conclusions drawn from the RFI process may constitute sufficient market research for a follow-on procurement.

      The U.S. government is pursuing domestic alternatives to the Russian-built RD-180 engine currently used to power the Atlas 5. As a result of increased political tension between the U.S. and Russia, the Air Force is seeking commercially viable solutions to meet current and future National Security Space (NSS) launch requirements.

      The Air Force said it is open to replacement engines that are similar to the RD-180, or significantly different, including multiple engine configurations. Additionally, the Air Force said it is “highly interested” in public-private ventures and would like to see solutions that would also have commercial non-military applications.