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Rocket Crash Highlights Concern Over Soviet, Russian Engines

A senior official at aircraft maker Boeing says the crash of a commercially operated rocket bound for the International Space Station underscores concerns about U.S. reliance on Soviet-era and Russian engines in rockets used for U.S. civilian space, military and intelligence purposes.

The Antares rocket that crashed after launch on October 28 was powered by two Soviet-era NK-33 engines that were rebuilt by a unit of U.S. manufacturer GenCorp.

The builder and operator, Orbital Sciences, said preliminary investigation showed the failure initiated in the rocket's first stage, where the engines were located, and outside experts cast suspicion on the engines.

Chris Chadwick, chief executive of Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, told Reuters news agency the crash underlined the need to develop a new U.S. rocket engine.

He said it was "a wake-up call that we need to move forward, we need to move smartly, we need to move together to protect this industry."

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP