With a scheduled date of June 26, the upcoming hearing on the US space launch strategy is bound to get heated. The forthcoming hearing, dubbed “Assuring National Security Space: Investing in American Industry to End Reliance on Russian Rocket Engines,” will feature a panel of government speakers followed by one from private industry. The House Armed Services - Strategic Forces Committee, the agency that oversees the nation’s ballistic missile defense, strategic weapons, space, and Department of Energy national security programs, wants the public to understand that Congress meant it when it mandated the US Air Force to end its reliance on Russian-made launch systems by 2019.
In a press release heralding the hearing, Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama stated: “It is not the time to fund new launch vehicles, or new infrastructure, or rely on unproven technologies. It is the time for the Pentagon to harness the power of the American industrial base, and move with purpose and clarity in order to swiftly develop an American rocket propulsion system that ends our reliance on Russia as soon as possible.”
Congress desires to wean the US Air Force off the Russian-made, liquid-oxygen/kerosene-fueled, dual-combustion RD-180 rocket engine. The RD-180 is the powerhouse behind the popular Atlas V expendable launch system, operated by the Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture United Launch Alliance.
The government panel features:
The private industry panel will include: