The US government is evaluating sanctions against Russia that could destroy SpaceX's biggest competitor
Right now, the US Government is determining whether importing Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines - which power ULA's Atlas V rockets - violates sanctions against Russia.
The US first imposed these sanctions on dozens of Russian officials after Russia seized Crimea in 2014, SpaceNews reported.
If the government finds that violation is in play, space company ULA will be unable to purchase new engines with which to launch its Atlas V rockets.
The Atlas V is one of four launch vehicles the ULA uses to carry out missions for government and commercial companies. And it's one of their most popular - ULA's last 11 missions were all conducted on Atlas V rockets.
The only problem is that the main rocket stage runs on Russian RD-180 engines, which are made by the Russian company called NPO Energomash.
And Energomash is run by numerous sanctioned Russia officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin.
"These folks are on the sanctions list, and if the Department of the Treasury comes back and says there's a problem with that relationship, then we have to work with the Congress and others to determine a way ahead," Samuel Greaves, who heads the US Air Force's Space and Missile Systems Center, told Reuters.
The US Air Force stands to lose a lot if RD-180 engine imports are banned because ULA is currently only one of two space companies the Air Force has certified to conduct important national security launches.
The other company is SpaceX.
If ULA loses the launch capability of its Atlas V rockets, it will be more difficult for the company to compete against SpaceX for national security launch contracts - a main source of business for the company.
The evaluations were performed last week in time for a deadline set for this week by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain. Therefore, we could know soon whether the Atlas V is grounded, or not.
- OnlyFans star Riley Reid plans to 'immortalize' herself using AI. Here's how her team built her new chatbot.
- A leading supplement researcher says she doesn't take any — because she's getting what she needs from her vegan diet
- Mattel rolled out a Barbie to honor a late Cherokee Nation chief with a language error on the box that says 'chicken' instead of 'Cherokee'
- Exploring vibrant flavors: 10 healthy salad options in India
- 10 dry fruits to include in your daily winter diet
- Paytm to focus on big ticket loans to low-risk credit-worthy customers
- 10 Cities in India perfect for a chill and relaxed life
- India’s economic rise: How global tech giants are chasing the next big growth engine