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Amid growing US efforts to harm Russia's economy with sanctions, Russia has announced a move today banning the sale of RD-180 rocket engines to the United States for military applications.
The RD-180 engines are at the core of the Atlas V rockets, which the Air Force uses to launch military satellites into space. The Air Force has a contract with United Launch Alliance to buy the engines from Russia.
The Pentagon downplayed the situation, saying they have a two-year supply of engines in storage so near-term launches won't be impacted. United Launch Alliance said the two year supply should allow a "smooth transition" to Delta rockets, which use US-made engines.
United Launch Alliance also angrily blamed rival company SpaceX for the Russian announcement, suggesting the SpaceX lawsuit against them had "threatened US military satellite operations." SpaceX sued to try to stop the purchase of RD-180 engines, arguing it was a violation of US sanctions.
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