Except for occasional abrasive comments and other potshots, the relationship between NASA and the Russian space agency Roscosmos has remained relatively respectful even in the face of international tension between the two countries.
But if a news conference on Saturday is any indication, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk isn’t playing nice.
First, some backstory. Back in 2014, Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin, quipped that the US might as well “deliver its astronauts to the ISS by using a trampoline” — a reference to how the US had to rely on Russian spacecraft to launch astronauts into space since 2011.
But as of Saturday, NASA has a new and cheaper option: SpaceX. And Musk couldn’t help but take a jab.
— Pranay Pathole (@PPathole) May 31, 2020
“It’s an inside joke,” Musk added.
Roscosmos underplayed SpaceX’s historic achievement.
“We don’t really understand the hysteria sparked by the successful launch of a Crew Dragon spacecraft,” spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko. “What should have happened a long time ago happened.”
Rogozin has previously accused SpaceX of unfairly undercutting the competition.
“Instead of honest competition on the market for space launches, they are lobbying for sanctions against us and use price dumping with impunity,” Rogozin wrote in an April tweet.
Rogozin also said that his space agency is “is working to lower prices by more than 30 percent on launch services to increase our share on the international markets,” which he framed as an “answer to dumping by American companies financed by the US budget.”
To Musk, the reason why SpaceX could undercut the competition so significantly was simple.
“SpaceX rockets are 80% reusable, theirs are 0%,” he wrote in an April tweet. “This is the actual problem.”
READ MORE: ‘Trampoline Is Working’: Musk Taunts Russia [The Moscow Times]
More on the launch: SpaceX Makes History: Launches NASA Astronauts Into Orbit