Sunday, May 25, 2014

US Senate panel budgets $100 mn for non-Russian rocket

US Senate panel budgets $100 mn for non-Russian rocket: A Senate panel set aside $100 million Thursday to develop a US rocket engine as an alternative to Russian equipment currently used to launch military satellites into orbit.

Amid broader disputes with President Vladimir Putin over Kremlin aggression in neighboring Ukraine, US lawmakers have considered ways to break from Russian rocket dependence, including blocking US firms from purchasing Russian-made engines and developing a new American-made engine.

"Mr Putin's Russia is giving us some problems," said Senator Bill Nelson, who flew aboard Space Shuttle Columbia in 1986.

"So we put $100 million in the defense bill to develop a state-of-the-art rocket engine to make sure that we have assured access to space for our astronauts as well as our military space payloads."