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US reviews use of Russian rockets for satellite launches

This November 18, 2013 video image provided by NASA TV shows the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket with NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft onboard at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch ComplexIn response to soaring tensions with Moscow, the Pentagon is reviewing whether a reliance on Russian rocket engines for US military satellite launches poses a potential national security risk, officials said Friday. Since 1995, the US military has used the Russian-made engines on Atlas V rockets, which are often employed to send Air Force and other satellites into space. “In light of the current situation, the department has directed the Air Force to perform an additional review to ensure we completely understand the implications, including supply interruptions, of using the Russian-made RD-180 rocket motor in our Atlas V launch vehicle…” spokeswoman Maureen Schumann said. Although the Defense Department regularly examines potential risks to the US military’s supply chain from foreign parts, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel has ordered a fresh review of the Russian engines given the crisis over Ukraine, officials said.

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