ULA faces anti-trust investigation for allegedly preventing RD-180 rocket engines being used by others

by | Jun 14, 2013 | commercial launch services, Russia, Technology | 0 comments

Reuters reports that the joint Boeing-Lockheed Martin firm, United Launch Alliance (ULA), which builds and markets the Atlas V and Delta IV rockets, will be investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for anti-trust violations in allegedly using an exclusivity clause to prevent the US-Russian built rocket engine, the RD Amross RD-180, from being used by other rocket firms. 

According to the report, Orbital Sciences Corp would like to use the LOx (lIquid oxygen)/kerosene RD-180 for later versions of its Antares rocket.  The Antares first stage currently uses two Aerojet produced AJ-26-500 engines, which are refurbished Russian-built NK-33 LOx/kerosene rocket engines, 30 of which powered the unsuccessful Soviet-era N-1 moon rocket.  When the N-1 rocket programme was cancelled in the early 1970s after four launch failures, the production line for the NK-33 was stopped.  The remaining supply of unused NK-33 engines was stored until Aerojet recovered them for refurbishment and modernisation to the AJ-26-500 standard.

Comment by David Todd: While the AJ-26-500 is regarded as a very efficient LOx/kerosene engine, both in terms of its specific impulse and thrust-to-weight ratio, it only has about half the thrust of an RD-180. However, it is really the prospect that the supply of AJ-26-500 engines eventually running out, that appears to be the main reason why Orbital Sciences wants to find an alternative engine for its Antares launch vehicle. 

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned Seradata database. Trusted by over 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, Seradata is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to https://www.seradata.com/product/

Related Articles




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochinaFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 525virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosevaDGAspacewalkaviation weekaressoyuzIGTInternational Space StationBeidouawardsRocket LabBlue OriginspaceStarlinkSatellite broadcastingrussiamoonAirbus DSISROCargo Return VehicleboeingmarsblogresearchOneWebspaceshiptwojaxaorionmarsimpactdelayhyperbolaEutelsatdemocratrocketlunarhypertextobamagoogle lunar prizelaunchVegabarack obamaconstellationSEStourismnorthfiguresthales alenia spacespaceflightnode 2fundedRaymond LygoIntelsat2009Lockheed MartinExpress MD-2Elon MuskAtlas Vromess2dassault aviationaviationLucy2008wk2sstlukradiomissilesuborbitaldocking portexplorationAriane 5 ECAVirgin OrbittestinternetLong March 2D/2sts-122Ariane 5Northrop GrummanSLSChina Manned Space EngineeringElectronflightspace tourism2010cotsnewspapermissile defensegalileospaceportExpress AMU 1Long March 4Cbuildspace stationaltairsoyuz 2-1aProton Minternational astronautical congressshuttlespace shuttleEuropean Space AgencyLauncherOneCosmosIntelsat 23scaled compositeshanleybudgetrulesnew yorkAriane 6shenzhouatvVietnamcongressMojaveboldenLong March 2COrbital ATKInmarsatcnesnew shepardiaclunar landerGuiana Space CenterkscApollolawsSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencyLong March 4BKuaizhou 1AILSprotonUS Air ForceTalulah RileydarpaElectron KSFalcon 9v1.2 Block 5Vega CeuAstriumSkylonpicturebaseusaastronautdragonlanderfiveeventTelesatNorth KoreaSSLAprilSNC50thinterviewLong MarchSea LaunchfalconWednesdaycustomerlinkatlantissuccessor