Lawmaker fight over Russian engines about politics, not threats


The fight in Congress over whether to allow the Air Force to continue using Russian engines to launch satellites into space may be more related to lawmakers' interests in their home states than anti-Russian sentiments, analysts said.

The U.S. has two private contractors capable of launching military satellites: SpaceX and United Launch Alliance, a partnership between Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which until recently had a monopoly in military launches.

But ULA relies on the Russian-made RD-180 engine for its launches. SpaceX, however, has its own technology and does not need the Russian engines.