Physiological concerns aside, any future participant should keep in mind that spaceflight is inherently risky. Drumming up enough speed and power to defy gravity requires rockets to use powerful, controlled explosions and complex technology that always involves some uncertainties.
“Today we have made a decision to halt the deliveries of rocket engines produced by NPO Energomash to the United States,” Rogozin said, according to the Russian news site Tass. “Let me remind you that these deliveries had been quite intensive somewhere since the mid-1990s,” Rogozin said.
Tass reported that the ban will apply to RD-180 engines that power US-based United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Atlas V rockets.
ULA’s CEO, Tory Bruno, however said via Twitter that ULA has already taken delivery of the RD-180s it needs in the near-term, and he does not foresee the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine having any impact on ULA’s operations.
ULA, a private space transport company, is in the process of abandoning its line of Atlas rockets in favor of a new line of rockets, called Vulcan, that will use engines made by Jeff Bezos’ US-based rocket company Blue Origin. It’s not clear when that rocket will be ready to fly.
The ban also applies to RD-181 engines that are used on Northrop Grumman’s Antares rockets, according to Russian state media. Those rockets are used to power uncrewed resupply missions to the International Space Station. Northrop Grumman did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
“As of today, there were plans to deliver an additional 12 RD-181 engines in 2022-2024 and talks were also held with the United States on the delivery of RD-181M engines with improved operational characteristics, but we believe that in this situation we can no longer supply the United States with our best engines,” the Roscosmos head said.
The US does have other means of getting cargo to and from the space station. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft are frequently used for that purpose.
“Let them fly on something else, on their brooms,” Rogozin told a Russian TV station Thursday.