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U.S. Company Signs $1 Billion Deal For Russian Rocket Engines

A private U.S. space firm has signed a deal to buy 60 rocket engines from Russia's state-owned Energia producer.

Energia announced the deal, worth about $1 billion, ina press release late on January 16.

The U.S. firm Orbital Sciences will buy 60 RD-180 rocket engines for use to deliver supplies to the International Space Station for the U.S. space agency NASA.

The deal comes two months after an Orbital Sciences rocket using a Russian engine exploded over the U.S. state of Virginia. The U.S. company says that instead of abandoning Russian-made equipment, it will phase out the Soviet-era models it previously used for the new RD-180s.

Energia is not among the Russian companies that have been targeted by U.S. sanctions over Moscow's actions in Ukraine. However, Russian officials have threatened to stop supplying the rockets in a response to those sanctions. Moscow has already banned the transfer of rocket engines for U.S. military launches.

Based on reporting by RT and The Moscow Times