War of words between Russian space chief and retired astronaut – Spaceflight Now
Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent an American record 340 days aboard the International Space Station, took to Twitter to deliver “real” news to his 5 million followers, including many in Russia, on the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
In the aftermath, a war of words broke out between the astronaut and Dmitry Rogozin, the director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, who hurls a steady stream of threats and vitriolic insults against NASA and its European partners in the International Space Station program. .
Kelly took the time to personally nudge Rogozin, becoming one of the most visible members of the international space community to criticize Russia’s attack on Ukraine and the country’s space program director.
He clearly struck a chord.
“You are defiant and destructive,” Rogozin tweeted in Google-translated remarks. “Perhaps the dementia and aggression you have developed are a consequence of the overload and stress of four space flights. I invite you to take an examination at the Brain Institute of our Federal Medical Agency and biological.
Господин Скот Келли! Вы зря меня провоцируете. Мы с вами не знакомы, но вы обращаетесь ко мне на ты и называетете и называете “димоном” хотя не знаю такого обращения не позволю вам себя так вести со мной. Вы ведете себя вызывающе и разрушительно. https://t.co/qBb0972W7M
— РОГОЗИН (@Rogozin) March 7, 2022
In an apparently deleted tweet on Monday, Rogozin said: “Get down, moron! Otherwise, the death of the #ISS will be on your conscience.
In a phone interview with CBS News on Sunday, Kelly said Rogozin had “always been a clown” and his recent remarks on the space station prove it. “It’s just that a lot of people didn’t realize that, because they never gave him much attention. But you know, it shows how much of a clown he really is.
Rogozin’s comments following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have fueled speculation in the West that Russia may withdraw from the International Space Station project, which currently requires Russian spacecraft, thrusters and thrusters remain in orbit.
But Kelly is confident that NASA, working with commercial companies like SpaceX, could develop a way to keep the station running even in the absence of Russia.
“I think (NASA is) looking at plans, contingency plans, what they would do if the partnership with Russia fell apart,” Kelly told CBS News.
“If the Russians decide they’re going to walk away from it or do anything, it would be difficult for NASA to go it alone,” he said. “But you know what? That’s what NASA does, they do difficult things. So I think they would figure out how we could do attitude control (or) how we could boost the space station. … He It’s not impossible to do without the Russians. It would be difficult but, you know, that’s what NASA does. Hard stuff.
Asked if it would be worth it for NASA to spend the money to provide the station’s only operational support if it came to that, Kelly said the lab “has another good eight years left.”
“I think that would send a good message to the Russians that if they want to get out of this partnership, then we can do it ourselves,” he added. “We don’t really need them. We did it a few years ago, but not anymore, right? We can get people to the space station” aboard SpaceX Crew Dragon capsules and, eventually, Boeing’s Starliner.
Kelly said he hopes it doesn’t come to this because the station is important to both countries.
“Without the space station program, the Russian space agency doesn’t have much of a reason, at least the manned spaceflight part doesn’t really have a reason,” Kelly said. “All these people, some of whom are friends of mine, would lose their jobs. Including, probably, Regozin would also lose his job.
He said he tweeted in Russian to friends and colleagues to spread “real information to the Russian people about what is happening”.
“I have many Russian friends. And you know, some of them are completely in line with our thinking on this, and some of them are not. And those who aren’t, it’s not because they’re stupid or have bad intentions. It’s simply because they’ve been fed misinformation for years and now continue to spread propaganda and have limited access to other valid sources of information about what’s going on.
With over 5 million Twitter followers – almost seven times more than Rogozin – “I just thought I had a platform to spread messages that are the truth versus what the Russian population is fed. “
Last week, Rogozin, acting through Roscosmos, ordered non-Russian flags on a commercial Soyuz rocket to be concealed. About a day later, the flight was canceled when OneWeb, the consortium that paid Roscosmos to launch 36 internet satellites, refused Russian demands dictating how the satellites could be used.
“Without these flags and the currency they earn, your space program will be worthless,” Kelly tweeted in Russian. “Maybe you can get a job at McDonald’s if McDonald’s still exists in Russia.”
Rogozin replied, “I am posting this so that everyone understands the degree of American ‘gratitude’ for what Russia has done for the United States, transporting their astronauts… for 9 years to the ISS after an American emergency and extremely unreliable ships (killed) two of them their crews and were eventually decommissioned. We then reached out to NASA, but now the aggressive Scott has bitten her.
He made no mention of the price NASA paid for the helping hand, some $4 billion for astronaut seats on Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft. But the criticism is not new. Amid threats of US sanctions after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, he suggested NASA use trampolines to deliver astronauts to the space station.
These comments stand in stark contrast to the cooperation the two countries have enjoyed for 30 years, jointly designing, building and operating the International Space Station. Rotating crews of astronauts and cosmonauts have constantly occupied the laboratory complex for the past 21 years.
Both nations are required to operate the station in its current form. Russia provides the propellant and thrusters needed to keep the station in orbit while NASA provides most of the electrical power and the massive gyroscopes needed to control its orientation without using rocket fuel. Neither party can operate the other’s systems.
NASA has kept a low profile following the invasion of Ukraine, issuing no comment other than assuring reporters that crew safety remains the agency’s top priority.
Rogozin, on the other hand, maintained a steady stream of angry tweets threatening the station’s survival.
“@Rogozin has always been a jerk,” retired NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman, a space station veteran, tweeted in Russian. “Only now does he mortally wound Roscosmos and end one of Russia’s few remaining sources of currency. Keep that in mind when your ATM is empty. Soon he will need a trampoline.