John Ransom

Something stinks here.

And it’s more than just wastewater from the marshy ground in and around Washington, DC.

When a commercial airline is shot out of the sky it immediately triggers a number of questions. What kind of projectile? Where did it come from? Who fired it? All of these questions are answered by spy satellites. But getting one of these expensive satellites into orbit requires we launch a rocket.

At present, the United States is buying rocket engines from Russia for these critical national security launches . That is right. Even while a domestic supply of launch vehicles is available here at home, there are some who think it is a good idea for us to be dependent on the Russian government for our access to space.

“Over the past 20 years,” reports the IBTimes, “the U.S. has become dependent on a steady supply of $10 million RD-180 rocket engines manufactured by NPO Energomash, the 85-year-old manufacturer largely owned by the Russian government. These engines are used to deliver military satellites into orbit.”

Every year, the online site says, between 8 and 10 launch vehicles are purchased by the Defense Department at a cost of potentially $100 million per year.

I always knew that Obama didn’t care about American jobs, or American security, but I’m curious that he does seem to care so very much about Russian jobs and Russian security.

Says the Times: “Sources in the industry who are watching the case closely told International Business Times on background that few believe the U.S. or Russia will move to block RD-180 deliveries, because Russia needs the money as much as the U.S. needs the engines.”

But that’s only partially true. Russia definitely needs the cash. But there are suppliers of rocket engines in the United States, and the Defense Department merely needs to pick between them in a free and fair competition known as a certification process.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration says that Russia has launched missiles from inside its border into eastern Ukraine in an attempt to bolster the terrorists there, while Russian heavy artillery has moved across the border.

It’s the latest sign that the war in Ukraine isn’t going that great for Russia and her bullies. If things were so great, Russia wouldn’t need to have such direct involvement. When Russian forces themselves eventually cross the border, our ability to see them will be leveraged on whether Russia wants us to be able to launch satellites or not. That doesn’t seem to be a hard choice for them.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.