US should be respectful, not mock the space agency it has relied on all these years: Roscosmos chief

Roscosmos has in recent years suffered a series of setbacks and corruption scandals, including in the construction of a new Cosmodrome in the country.

Reuters June 10, 2020 11:12:30 IST
US should be respectful, not mock the space agency it has relied on all these years: Roscosmos chief

Americans should show more respect for Russia’s space programme after relying on it for nine years as the only way to send US astronauts into orbit, the head of Russia’s space agency said.

The United States launched the first astronauts from US soil since 2011 last month in a rocket built by SpaceX, the company of billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk. In the intervening years, Americans flying to the International Space Station relied on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

In a column in this week’s Russian version of Forbes, Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, lamented that Americans still do not take the Russian space programme as seriously as their own.

US should be respectful not mock the space agency it has relied on all these years Roscosmos chief

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, and Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin shake hands following an interview, on 10 Oct 2018 in Baikonur, Kazakhstan for the launch of Expedition 57. Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

“When our partners finally managed to conduct a successful test on their spacecraft, there were nothing but jokes and mockery directed at us,” Rogozin complained. Instead, the American space industry should have thanked Russia.

“Our country was the first to send a man into space,” Rogozin wrote. “We remain first to this day.”

Roscosmos has in recent years suffered a series of setbacks and corruption scandals, including during the construction of the Vostochny Cosmodrome in the country’s far east.

It criticised US President Donald Trump’s “hysteria” after he said the SpaceX launch showed the United States had regained its place as the world’s leader in space.

Trump also said U.S. astronauts would soon land on Mars, and that Washington would soon have “the greatest weapons ever imagined in history.”

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