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Air Force head questions schedule for RD-180 replacement
Posted: Fri, Feb 27, 2015, 6:49 AM ET (1149 GMT)
The Secretary of the Air Force said this week that she doubts a domestically-manufactured replacement for the RD-180 engine would be ready by a 2019 deadline set by Congress. Testifying before a Senate appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, Deborah Lee James said she wasn't sure the Air Force could have that engine replacement completed by 2019, a date set in a defense authorization bill last year. Congress established that deadline to end US reliance on the Russian-built RD-180, setting aside funding to start work on a replacement. In online comments Thursday, Tory Bruno, head of United Launch Alliance, said that he believed his privately-developed BE-4 engine would be ready for flight by 2019, but would not be certified for national security space launches until the early 2020s.
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