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Wynne Mulled For DepSecDef; Trumpers Reject Ayotte

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: A top candidate for the Pentagon’s No. 2 position is Mike Wynne, the former Air Force Secretary who has been an advisor to Donald Trump for some time. We only have one source on this and can’t identify the source in any way, so put this one in the good rumor basket. Wynne was… Keep reading →

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SMC: ‘High Confidence’ In SpaceX, But Watching Closely

Posted by Colin Clark on


Although the world is awfully excited about Elon Musk’s announcement this week that he’ll be selling tickets to Mars, there are other pressing issues facing SpaceX, such as the cause of the Sept. 1 explosion that destroyed a Falcon 9 rocket and much of its launch pad. The day that SpaceX’s Falcon 9 exploded on the… Keep reading →

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McCain Compromises On RD-180s: Are Rocket Wars Over?

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


WASHINGTON: The defense bill that passed the Senate today might just end the long and bitter wrangle over Russian rocket engines. Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain has called for an end to Pentagon purchases of the RD-180 rocket engine, charging it enriched “Putin’s cronies.” His committee unanimously passed a draft National Defense Authorization Act… Keep reading →

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Give DoD 18 RD-180s; Alternatives Too Late, Too Costly

Posted by Doug Birkey on


When the National Defense Authorization Bill comes to the Senate floor, lawmakers will face an important choice regarding the future of national security space launch. The Defense Department has relied upon United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Delta IV and Atlas V rockets — the latter powered by the Russian-built RD-180 engine. Maintaining redundant launch system capabilities —… Keep reading →

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White House Threatens Veto Of House NDAA; OCO, RD-180 At Issue

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


UPDATED with SecDef, HASC, & SASC comments WASHINGTON: Last night, the White House issued a veto threat against the draft defense bill that just went to the House floor, which takes an $18 billion bite out of the Overseas Contingency Operations fund. This afternoon, Defense Secretary Ash Carter blasted both the House draft of the National Defense Authorization Act… Keep reading →

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HASC OKs 18 RD-180s; Adds $100M For New Designs

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: The House Armed Services Committee is certainly no friend to today’s Russia as ruled by Vladimir Putin, but even they now support the Pentagon’s plans to use 18 Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. The HASC approved by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado to the National Defense Authorization Act that would… Keep reading →

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‘We Need To Hold Our Noses,’ Buy Russian RD-180 Engines: SecDef

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Ash Carter made many reporters’ day this morning when he pithily put the case for the Pentagon to continue buying Russian RD-180 rocket engines until the United States has two tested and reliable launch providers capable of replacing the highly reliable and relatively cheap Atlas V built and operated by the United Launch Alliance. “We… Keep reading →

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It’s ‘War’ Twixt Appropriators & Authorizers Over RD-180s: Sen. Durbin

Posted by Sydney J. Freedberg Jr. on


CAPITOL HILL: The Senate battle over Russian rockets keeps rocking. Senators Dick Durbin and Richard Shelby sent most of this morning’s defense appropriations hearing defending the Pentagon’s plan to keep using the cheap and technologically reliable but politically toxic RD-180 until an American-made replacement is ready, sometime around 2020-2021. Durbin and Shelby denounced the effort… Keep reading →

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It’s Preliminary: ULA Won’t Be Sanctioned

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: It’s not officially official, but the head of Pentagon acquisition, Frank Kendall, says the Treasury Department has not found any reason for sanctions to be applied against the United Launch Alliance. “The preliminary indications from Treasury (Department) are that they do not apply,” Kendall told reporters after a lunch address to the Washington Space… Keep reading →

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McCain Intros Bill To Stop RD-180 Use; Pentagon Urges Caution

Posted by Colin Clark on


WASHINGTON: Sen. John McCain continued his crusade to stop the Pentagon from using Russia’s highly reliable and cheap RD-180 rocket engines to launch American military satellites during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today. The Arizona senator and the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy of California, introduced a bill today designed to overturn language in… Keep reading →

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