A remarkable provision of the omnibus bill

Senator John McCain is leading the charge against language in the omnibus bill that allows the continued use of Russian rockets in our space launchings of U.S. military satellites.

In an article from Defense News:

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain blasted colleagues for including language in the must-pass spending bill effectively allowing United Launch Alliance — a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin — to continue using Russian rocket engines to launch military satellites into space.

The language in the bill mandates the competition be open to military space launch “vehicle providers "regardless of the country of origin of the rocket engine.

ULA, which relies on Russian RD-180 rocket engines to power its Atlas V rocket, recently dropped out of the Air Force's GPS III Launch Services competition after the Pentagon refused to give the company some relief from the fiscal 2015 defense budget's ban on use of RD-180s for military satellite launches after 2019. But the new language sets the stage for ULA to re-enter the competition.

It is a sad day in American history and that of NASA and other rocketry development efforts in the United States that we are “outsourcing” (to use an Obama term) our reliance on rocket propulsion.  Much of this involves national security and military capabilities.

Recall that it was this same president who reduced the capacity of NASA.  In an American Thinker article from 2008, we received a recap of the curious and sudden budgetary concerns of Barack Obama.  A president whose legacy is that under his administration, more aggregate federal debt has been accrued than all the previous administrations combined.  He has taken the nation debt to nearly 19 trillion dollars, yet he found that our space and rocketry programs were the place for him to put his “austerity foot” down (not to mention his Arab outreach instructions to NASA).

Space X was to have been the private-sector response to the reduced NASA program.  Curiously, Obama sought private-sector participation to supplant federal agency work.  Is there another example?

With the tensions in the Middle East, Syria, and Ukraine combined with Putin’s Napoleonic tendencies, the reliance on Russian rocketry to launch our GPS, spy, and other military satellites is irresponsible if not inexplicable.