Elon Musk’s SpaceX pulled off quite a feat this week in launching a reused rocket into space, but folks in Moscow brushed it off like uptight bougie jerks at a dinner party. Why? Because the Kremlin thinks it’s on-par with SpaceX’s capabilities.
A spokesperson for the Kremlin said SpaceX’s move this week is an “important achievement,” but Russia has some dope shit on its plate, too. From the Moscow Times:
“We have every reason to believe that we can compete” with SpaceX and other companies in the global space industry, Peskov was quoted as saying by the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. He did not specify what exactly the government plans to do to compete.
Russia’s state space corporation, Roscosmos, is being modernized right now, Peskov said. “The head of Roscomos, Igor Komarov, has reported to President Vladimir Putin that Russian specialists are working on cutting-edge technologies.”
As our sister site Gizmodo notes, reusable rockets make a lot of financial sense; shedding the cost of building a new one will make launches a lot easier in the future.
“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred,” Musk says on SpaceX’s website.
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And it’s taken years for us to reach this point! But Russia wants to butt in like we’re on the precipice of a new space race or whatever.
But as The Moscow Times reports, independent space experts think the Kremlin’s claim is laughable, at best.
Russia, “homeland of [the first man in space Yuri] Gagarin,” has fallen 20 years behind Musk, Vadim Lukashevich, a prominent space expert who was dismissed from the Skolkovo, a state-backed research center, for criticizing Roscosmos’ reform efforts in 2015, wrote on Facebook Friday.
“Today, the Presidential Space Council will discuss the main areas of development of the Russian space industry up to 2030, and this program has nothing in it about reusing [rockets],” Lukashevich wrote. “I’m genuinely ashamed for Roscosmos.”
Ouch. On a lighter note, if you want to rewatch yesterday’s launch, check it out here.