U.S. and Russian diplomacy takes another dive as Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin proposes NASA should find a more bouncy way into space.
Via his Twitter account: "After analyzing the sanctions against our space industry, I suggest to the USA to bring their astronauts to the International Space Station using a trampoline." (Via Twitter / @Rogozin)
That's cold. Rogozin is in charge of the Russian space program, and that sour tweet came after the U.S. enforced sanctions against Russia's export license for high-tech items and froze Rogozin's operational accounts. He threatened sanctions against Russia would have a negative effect on NASA and Europe's space effort, according to RT.
"They don't understand that the sanctions will hit them like a boomerang."
And he could be right. As WHDH explains: "This is dicey territory. Right now NASA has no other way to launch astronaut other than Russian rockets."
So, should the U.S. space program be worried? The Washington Post says the deputy prime minister does have a valid point, but "his threats carry much less weight than he may hope."
Truth is, money talks louder than Twitter. On average, the U.S. pays Russia $71 million per person for a ride to the ISS. Right now, the U.S. has an outstanding bill of $457.9 million for Russia's services. (Via NASA)
That chunk of change is too much for Russia's aerospace program to pass up or give up because it didn't want to follow sanctions. Plus, gridlocking NASA's primary space highway could push the U.S. to use privately owned companies like Elon Musk's SpaceX instead.
He's already taken notice of the growing situation, tweeting Tuesday: "Sounds like this might be a good time to unveil the new Dragon Mk 2 spaceship that SpaceX has been working on with NASA. No trampoline needed" (Via NASA, Twitter / @elonmusk)
There are currently two American astronauts aboard the ISS. If Russia continues to counter the sanctions, it might refuse to let the two return home.