There’s a nasty, more and more public battle that has engulfed a handful of former cosmonauts, a robot, and the present leader of Russia’s space program, Dmitry Rogozin, in controversy.
The genesis of the dispute appears to be that some former cosmonauts have begun to talk out in opposition to Rogozin’s management of Russia’s space efforts—which has at occasions seemed self-serving—amid the rise of opponents like SpaceX and the decline of the nation’s ageing infrastructure.
The most outspoken critic of Rogozin and Russia’s space program has been Maxim Suraev, a Russian fighter pilot who served six-month stints on the International Space Station in 2010 and 2014. After retiring from the cosmonaut corps, Suraev was elected to the State Duma, the decrease home of the Russian meeting.
For causes which are not totally clear, Suraev’s criticism of the state of the Russian space program has escalated in current weeks. For instance, one week in the past he tweeted a picture evaluating the inside of the Russian Soyuz automobile with that of SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, developed for NASA, with the caption, “Needless to say, you can see for yourself.”
Слов нет, всё видите сами. pic.twitter.com/EYjDTe5LeP
— Макс Сураев (@Msuraev) October 7, 2020
Suraev has additionally tweeted a short video clip of SpaceX founder Elon Musk saying, “The trampoline is working,” following the successful launch of the Demo-2 mission to the International Space Station in late May. This was a mocking reference to Rogozin’s insult, in 2014, of NASA after he was sanctioned by the Obama administration in the wake of the Crimea invasion. Rogozin mentioned NASA might get to space on a trampoline if it did not need to work with the Russian space program.
In one other notable swipe on Twitter, Suraev “apologized” to Soviet hero Yuri Gagarin, the primary human to enter space, while sharing a brief video of NASA testing the strong rocket booster for its Space Launch System rocket. The implication was that NASA’s space program is shifting ahead, while Roscosmos is caught in the previous.
Rogozin used to have a Twitter account—which was fairly colourful and at occasions somewhat spiteful—however he deleted it earlier this yr for causes unknown. (It appears believable that senior authorities officers advised him to knock it off). However, after Suraev’s criticism, Rogozin might have been utilizing the Twitter account of “Fedor,” a robot sent to the International Space Station in 2019, to reply.
This Twitter account was additionally deleted this weekend. But earlier than the account was both deleted or banned from the social networking web site, “Fedor” attacked Suraev and one other astronaut he flew with, Alexander Samokutyayev, for being drunk on board the space station. (See screenshot of translated tweets). These tweets are constant with the style in which Rogozin used the social networking web site.
Samokutyayev, additionally a member of the Duma since his retirement as a cosmonaut, hit back on Monday, saying he was “outraged” by the accusations and that he and Suraev would examine their origins. Rogozin has denied having something to do with the Fedor Twitter account, however he additionally mentioned maybe the robot was actually tweeting on its personal.
If all of this does not make a lot sense, welcome to Russia’s space trade below the management of Rogozin. Independent Russian space analysts warn the program is slipping into the “Dark Ages” below mismanagement, and Rogozin has been accused of enriching himself at Roscosmos’ expense. The global space trade could be higher off with a higher-led Russian space program.