A SpaceX launch director took a jab at Russia’s space chief during the company’s satellite launch.
He said “Time to let the American broomstick fly,” referencing an insult from Dmitry Rogozin.Last week, Russia halted rocket sales to the US. Rogozin said the US could fly on “broomsticks.”
SpaceX taunted Russia during the company’s latest Starlink satellite launch on Wednesday.
“Time to let the American broomstick fly and hear the sounds of freedom,” the company’s launch director said on SpaceX’s live stream, just before the Falcon 9 rocket sent 48 satellites into orbit from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
The unnamed launch director’s statement was a jab at the head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin. Last week, Rogozin said that Russia would no longer supply rocket enginesto the US afterPresident Joe Biden’s sanctionsover the war in Ukraine.
“In a situation like this, we can’t supply the United States with our world’s best rocket engines,” Rogozin said on state-run TV. “Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don’t know what.”
The satellite launch was the company’s 10th weekly launch in a row. To date, SpaceX has over 2,000 satellites in orbit. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk plans to create a constellation of over 42,000 Starlink satellites in his effort to provide low-cost internet to remote locations.
Following the launch on Wednesday, the rocket’s first stage returned to Earth and touched down at sea on a SpaceX drone ship.
It’s not the first time that SpaceX has sparred with Rogozin. Last week, Musk responded to a video on Twitter of his company launching 47 satellites into orbit with a screenshot of Rogozin’s comments highlighted along with the words “American Broomstick” and four US flags.
Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2022
Musk and Rogozin have also sparred on Twitter over the billionaire’s decision to offer Starlink internet services in Ukraine.
Russia’s space chief has become increasingly aggressive on Twitter since his country launched an attack on Ukraine. Most recently, Rogozin and former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly engaged in a spat on Twitter in whichKelly suggested Rogozin find a job at McDonald’s, and Rogozin invited Kelly to get a brain exam.
Rogozin’s aggression online is a sign that space relations and collaboration between the US and Russia might be nearing an end. The space chief has even made comments warning that the tenuous relationship between Russia and Western nations could destroy Russia’s partnership with NASA and lead to the demise of the International Space Station as NASA relies on Russian propulsion to periodically boost the station on its orbit around Earth.
At the time, Musk responded to Rogozin’s thread on Twitter with a SpaceX logo, suggesting that his company could step in to save the ISS. There has been some discussion that the company could help fill the gap by using the SpaceX Dragon, though the spacecraft is not meant to serve as a long-term solution.
In the meantime, Roscosmos and NASA have said they are continuing to work together despite Rogozin’s comments online.