Japan and the USA are developing a new space rocket, which will be equipped with the Russian-made engine "RD-180". This was disclosed by a senior staff member of the Japanese branch of the joint Japanese-American company, Galaxy Express, which is developing the rocket.
The American Lockheed corporation, which represents the American side in the project, will undertake to construct the space rocket's first stage, which consists of a fuel tank to be manufactured in the USA and the Russian engine, produced by Energomash company.
The new GX space rocket will consist of two stages and will be only 48 metres in length. Its flight range will be only 200 kilometres. The new space rocket will be capable of putting into Earth's orbit a sputnik or a space module carrying 3 astronauts with a maximum weight of 3 metric tonnes.
Approximately $500mln will be spent on the development and construction of the space rocket.
According to the initial plans the first space rocket of this type will be blasted off in 2006.
In expert estimates, the GX will be the world's first space rocket of this type and will be the most popular space rocket on the international market of small-sized space vehicles.