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SpaceX, Orbital ATK To Develop Engines For Air Force

The U.S. Air Force awarded two private space companies an initial investment of $80 million.

SpaceX and Orbital ATK will receive funding to research separate rocket engines for military use.

Orbital ATK is working on a solid rocket engine that the company says will be low-cost and low risk.

SpaceX is getting at least $33 million to develop a reusable methane-fueled Raptor engine. SpaceX said it will manufacture most of the engine using 3D printed parts.

The Air Force is under pressure from Congress to end dependence on the Russian built RD-180 rocket engine by 2019.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Intersection' Producer

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts "Are We There Yet?", WMFE's space exploration podcast He also helps produce WMFE's twice-weekly public affairs show "Intersection," working with host Matthew Peddie to shape the ... Read Full Bio »