What would President Trump think about the current state of the U.S. space launch industrial base and the Department of Defense’s plan for a next generation of rocket motors and boosters? How might he react when told that the U.S. is dependent on Russian engines to operate one of its two primary satellite launchers, the Atlas V? As a lifelong businessman, he would probably ask the question why isn’t the Pentagon buying American and hiring Americans when it comes to a critical national security capability. The answer to his question is that we could soon be able to buy American and hire Americans to provide a replacement for the RD-180, which would be available before the end of President Trump’s first term. I have written about the rebirth of the U.S. rocket motor business for The National Interest here.
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