Space Is Booming, America’s Next Heavy-Lift Rocket Should Reflect That

rocket taking off from launch pad
Photo Credit: United Launch Alliance via U.S. Air Force
The Russian RD-180 rocket engine has been an integral part of the U.S. military’s space launch capabilities since the 1990s. The RD-180 was chosen for the Atlas V because it was an advanced rocket engine with unmatched technical capabilities. The decision to use the RD-180 was influenced by many other non-technical factors as well, such as the United States’ geopolitical goal of easing the former Soviet Union’s transition from communism and U.S. industry’s desire to remain competitive in the global launch market. And despite the EELV program’s cost overruns and program restructurings…

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