A version of this article appears in the June 9 edition of Aviation Week & Space Technology. Nothing in spaceflight is easy, and that includes the part on the ground. After years of carefully setting up a low-cost route to low Earth orbit for the post-shuttle era, NASA finds itself blindsided by sanctions connected to the Russian takeover of Crimea and its relations with Ukraine. Threats by Russia to withhold from “weapons” applications the RD-180 rocket engine that its ...

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