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Court injunction blocks purchases of RD-180 engines
Posted: Thu, May 1, 2014, 9:07 AM ET (1307 GMT)
A federal court judge issued a preliminary injunction late Wednesday blocking the US Air Force and United Launch Alliance (ULA) from purchasing RD-180 rocket engines, which power the Atlas 5 rocket, from a Russian company. The injunction is linked to a suit filed Monday by SpaceX against the Air Force, arguing that the military's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) deal with ULA improperly blocks SpaceX from competing for those launches. In the complaint, SpaceX noted that the Russian space industry is overseen by deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin, who is one of several Russian officials recently sanctioned by the US government in response to Russia's actions in the Ukraine crisis. The injunction blocks the Air Force and ULA from making any purchases of engines from NPO Energomash, the RD-180 manufacturer, at least until representatives of the Departments of Commerce, Justice, and State determine if those payments would be in violation of those sanctions. The injunction doesn't extend to purchase orders already placed to Energomash for engines; that, coupled with the existing stockpile of RD-180 engines already in the US, means that the injunction is unlikely to have any immediate effects on Air Force or ULA operations.
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