As part of a massive ongoing industry-wide reform effort, Russian space companies specializing in the production of engines will be merged under one roof to create a consolidated rocket engine building company, the head of space agency Roscosmos, Igor Komarov, said Wednesday.
"Industry reform means the elimination of redundancies and the strengthening of enterprises' horizontal connections. And today we have taken the first step toward this." Komarov said, newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported. Included in the new company will be Russia's storied NPO Energomash, maker of the powerful RD-180 rocket engine.
The United Rocket and Space Corporation's move to unite the firm with other Russian rocket engine design and production firms heralds a major step forward in a recent government-mandated overhaul meant to fix Russia's troubled space industry.
Once a respected and well-funded sector during the Soviet Union, the space industry has seen a series of spectacular and embarrassing fiascos in recent years, including multiple launch failures.
By creating a united engine company, URSC is also stripping its subsidiary RSC Energia — the largest maker of Russian spacecraft — of its 14 percent ownership stake in the politically important firm Energomash.
Energomash's RD-180 rocket engine has found itself at the center of Moscow's falling out with Washington over the crisis in Ukraine. The engines are used by U.S. launch firm United Launch Alliance to power the Atlas V rocket, which is the main booster used to launch U.S. military and intelligence satellites into space.