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America Is Really Helpless In Space Without The Russians

An interesting conflicting factor in the stand-off with Russia.

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A Russian-built engine carries our spy satellites and other military equipment into space.

In 2012, the Air Force began procuring rockets for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program. This program caries spy satellites and other sensitive technology into space. The rocket they effectively use for this mission is the Atlas V, which is powered by Russian-built RD-180 engine.

The launching of our astronauts into space is also Russian-dependent.

Due to an administration decision to shut down America's manned space program, all American astronauts scheduled to serve on the International Space Station must travel by Russian Soyuz rocket launched from Russian territory.

This interdependency is complicated further by the announcement today that NASA will no longer work with Russia and their space program (with some exceptions).

“Given Russia’s ongoing violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted.”

Contact Benny Johnson at benny.johnson+DONE@buzzfeed.com.

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