Durbin Statement on Space Launch Agreement in Defense Authorization

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice-Chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement on an agreement reached to support a responsible transition to American-made rocket engines that ensures America’s ability to launch national security satellites:    
“This agreement is a win for America’s national security and taxpayers,” said Durbin. “It will provide for a responsible transition to American-made engines and guarantee America’s access to space.”
The Nelson/Gardner amendment provides the Department of Defense (DoD) with sufficient time to develop and test an American-made replacement for the Russian-made RD-180 rocket engine. It limits the use of Russian engines for competitive launches to a maximum of 18, and consistent with current law, does not impact the use of Russian rocket engines to support the EELV block buy.