At present, the United States relies on Russian rocket engines to launch satellites into space. The U.S. also relies on Russia to transport its astronauts to the International Space Station, as the U.S. Space Shuttle program ended in 2011.
Not only does this reliance have direct implications for our launch capabilities, but it also means that we are funding Russian space and missile technology while we could be investing in U.S. based jobs and the defense industrial base. This raises national security concerns, as the United States’ relationship with Russia is ever-changing; the situation in Ukraine is a prime example.
This paper serves as a brief, but factual overview of active launch vehicles used by the United States, as well as a basis for progression within ASP’s national security and space initiative.