SpaceX recently became the first company to successfully launch astronauts to the International Space Station from US soil since the very last space shuttle mission in 2011.
While this is an impressive feat for both the US and the rest of the world, it does leave the Russian Space Programme in an awkward position. For many years Russia held a monopoly as one of the only nations with the ability and knowhow to successfully ferry astronauts to the ISS, until now.
In the past, Russia has earned huge sums of money for their ability to ferry humans to the ISS, with a seat in the Soyuz costs Nasa around $80 million for each trip.
Roscosmos spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko had this to say about the SpaceX launch “We are not planning to sit idle. Already this year we will conduct tests of two new rockets and resume our lunar programme next year,” before going on to congratulate Elon Musk on his successful launch.
“It’s very important to have at least two possibilities to make it to the station. Because you never know…” spokesman Ustimenko said.
Without going into too much detail, Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin also mentioned that the country plans on conducting a new test launch of the Angara heavy carrier rocket this autumn. He also mentioned that Russia is pressing forward with development of its new intercontinental ballistic missile, the Sarmat.
During a post-flight news conference, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk was heard saying “The trampoline is working,” to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine. Both men laughed. “It’s an inside joke,” Musk added. This could be a response to a Russian Space chief who was once quoted as saying “Washington may one day be forced to deliver its astronauts to the ISS by using a trampoline.”
— Дмитрий Рогозин (@Rogozin) May 31, 2020