The Security Council of Russia approved the resuming of deliveries of NK-33 engines to USA. The engines will be installed on Antares launch vehicle, Izvestiya reports.
According to a source close to the Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was against the resuming of deliveries of NK-33 engines to USA and the Ministry of Defense supported its position. «The Vice Prime Minister, Dmitry Rogozin, supported the resuming of deliveries of NK-33 engines, because this export program will help renew the production of NK-33 engines at Kuznetsov enterprise», — he said. — Roscosmos is also interested in this program because Soyuz 2.1v will be powered by NK-33 engines. However, at present the Federal Space Agency is ready to purchase only a few engines of the type. It is not enough for resuming the serial production of NK-33. At the same time the manufacturer of Antares launch vehicle (Orbital Corporation) guaranteed the purchase of 20 engines of the type».
According to United Engine Corporation (UEC) “the resuming of export will help intensify the resuming of serial production of NK-33. There are two key areas in the network of this project. The first one – the contract with Aerojet Rocketdyne (the program for launching the medium capacity launch vehicles Antares). The second one – the national project implemented by GNPRKTs “TsKB-Progress” for launching the light launch vehicles Soyuz 2.1v. The minimum amount of investments required for resuming the production of NK-33 is 1 billion rubles.
According to a source close to the Federal Space Agency, the resuming of deliveries of another Russian-produced engine – RD-180 was not considered at the meeting of the Security Council. «Possibly, the resuming of deliveries of NK-33 may be considered as a green light for RD-180 export program, since the critical decision on resuming the export of Russian-produced rocket engines to USA has already been taken», — the source noted.
According to some sources, members of UEC met with the Orbital’s representatives in Washington in early February. At that the American party wanted Russia to take a decision on NK-33 deliveries in two months. Otherwise, Orbital will not be cooperating with Russian suppliers anymore; instead it will start considering alternatives.