Pentagon to ban US companies from using Russian space launches & satellites
The rule will levy “additional prohibitions with regard to acquisition of certain foreign commercial satellite services, such as… satellites and launch vehicles,” according to a Pentagon notice published on the US Federal Register website on Thursday.
Russia is now being added to the list of “covered foreign countries” affected by the rule, which also includes China, Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria.
The notice also places a ban on the purchase of items from Chinese companies that it classifies as “munitions.”
The US currently relies on Russian Soyuz rockets to shuttle NASA astronauts into space. Washington has partnered with private aerospace firms SpaceX and Boeing to develop its own carrier craft. The two firms were awarded contracts in 2014, aiming to fly a manned mission in space by 2017, but the projects have experienced delays and the craft are still undergoing tests.
SpaceX’s Dragon and Crew Dragon shuttles have successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS), but neither with a crew on board.
Still without a shuttle, the US earlier this month was forced to purchase seats aboard a Soyuz for two NASA astronauts destined for the ISS.
Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, condemned the decision in a statement Thursday, calling the move a clear example of “unfair competition.”
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