US still buying Russian rocket engines for launch vehicles
A top Russian official sanctioned by President Obama in the wake of the Ukraine crisis is playing a key role in the Pentagon's space program, and thereby continuing to benefit from a lucrative no-bid contract that the Department of Defense awarded earlier this year, Fox News has confirmed.
Dmitry Rogozin, deputy prime minister of the Russian Federation, was among the senior Kremlin officials targeted by the White House's sanctions announcement of March 17. Included in Rogozin's broad portfolio of duties, by virtue of a special order from Russian President Vladimir Putin issued two years ago, is oversight of the Russian space sector, in which capacity Rogozin supplies sophisticated hardware used in the Pentagon's launches of satellites into space.
This past January, the U.S. Air Force awarded a "blockbuster" sole-source contract to a private-sector firm called United Launch Alliance (ULA), a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for the purchase of 36 of the rockets, or "booster cores," that the Pentagon uses in its Delta IV and Atlas V space-launch systems. The contract was the most recent in a series that the Air Force has recently finalized with ULA, collectively valued at $2.5 billion.This gives you an idea of the lack of seriousness by this administration when it comes to Russian sanctions. They managed to sanction people for whom there is not consequence and ignore deals where we have some leverage.
ULA, however, does not manufacture the engines used in the Atlas V system; for that, the Boeing-Lockheed consortium turns to NPO Energomash, a majority Kremlin-owned company directly overseen by Rogozin. Energomash's engines, specifically the RD-180 model, are fueled by kerosene and liquid oxygen, and fetch an estimated $15 to $20 million apiece.