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Space spat between Biden and Rogozin over Russian invasion of Ukraine

Yesterday saw harsh words expressed by both President Biden and the head of Roscosmos, Dmitry Rogozin, concerning the partnership of the two countries at ISS, with Biden imposing sanctions and noting these will specifically harm Russia’s space industry, and Rogozin responding by threatening to dump ISS on either a U.S. or European city.

In Biden’s statement, he said, “We estimate that we will cut off more than half of Russia’s high-tech imports, and it will strike a blow to their ability to continue to modernize their military. It will degrade their aerospace industry, including their space program,”

Rogozin’s response came in a series of tweets on Twitter, with his most bellicose statements as follows:

Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the ISS?

This is how you already do it by limiting exchanges between our cosmonaut and astronaut training centers. Or do you want to manage the ISS yourself? Maybe President Biden is off topic, so explain to him that the correction of the station’s orbit, its avoidance of dangerous rendezvous with space garbage, with which your talented businessmen have polluted the near-Earth orbit, is produced exclusively by the engines of the Russian Progress MS cargo ships. If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe? There is also the option of dropping a 500-ton structure to India and China. Do you want to threaten them with such a prospect? The ISS does not fly over Russia, so all the risks are yours. Are you ready for them?

Meanwhile, it isn’t Russia’s space industry that will suffer the most from this invasion, but Ukraine’s. For example, the American company Launcher, which has had a software team in the Ukraine, has moved most of that team to Bulgaria for their safety.

As a precaution given the escalating political situation, during the last few weeks, we successfully relocated our Ukraine staff to Sofia, Bulgaria, where we opened a new Launcher Europe office. We also invited their immediate family to join them in this move and funded their relocation expenses. We continue to encourage and support five of the support staff and one engineer who decided to remain in Ukraine.

The company’s press release makes it clear that it is no longer dependent in any way with facilities in the Ukraine.

Launcher’s actions will not be the last. Expect all Western commercial efforts linked to the Ukraine to break off ties in order to protect their investments. Moreover, if Russia should recapture the Ukraine entirely, it will likely not give much support to its space industry, as Roscosmos has developed its own Russian resources in the past two decades and will likely want to support those instead.

Thus, the expected destruction of that country’s aerospace industry by Russia’s invasion proceeds.

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  • Col Beausabre

    Let’s build our launcher with vital parts from another country. What could possibly go weong?

  • Michael


    Watched the clip. Got to wondering if they actually dressed in uniform everyday of the voyage or if they took along some shorts and tee shirts.

  • sippin_bourbon


    Surely there is a political commissar that has educated them that wearing the uniform of the people is the most glorious form or service.
    Why would they NOT want to wear it?

    Don’t turn around, ohoh.
    The Kommisars in town, oh OH!
    (tongue firmly in cheek).

  • pzatchok

    Why couldn’t a modified Falcon 9 second stage be used instead of a Progress? Or just a modified Dragon and it service trunk?

    Lengthen it for extra fuel and use a slightly modified Dragon to dock to the station.

    If we have our own way to boosting the station then we no longer need Russia at all.

  • pawn

    The NG Antares uses two RD-181 made in the Ukraine. Looks like NG has two sitting in domestic storage but said they are “waiting it out” for additional engines.

    Not sure if this is true but if the Russians bail out of the ISS, worst case they could possibly take the Soyuz lifeboats with them.

    Not to trivialize the human suffering occurring but I’m hoping this is all heat-of-the-moment bluster. Reckless political posturing could cause some serious problems for the ISS.

    Paging Mr. Musk, paging Mr. Musk….

  • Milt

    pzatchok —

    See Robert’s comments on this sort of alternative back on Feb. 20:

    It looks like Northrop Grumman might be taking up the slack if the Russians get intransigent. For the moment, at least, we still have a
    “can do” private sector that thrives on such challenges. And, likewise, this is why the idea of free enterprise in space gives the Biden-Ho
    Administration so much heartburn.

  • MJMJ

    Ukraine dropped the “The”.

  • Alton

    A quick look back at Published comments during the 2014 reviews of the three supplier competition for new replacement engines for Antares stated that four Merlin 1-D engines could be fit in the RDS-180 space ?: requiring a total of eight motors per flight.
    Less total thrust.

    Is this to Become equal to the three companies manufacturing LCD Panels for the whole industry?

  • wayne

    Russian Politics explained…..
    (ST: Original, A Piece of the Action

  • Jeff Wright

    This is is all so very ugly. I love both Ukrainian and Russian people.

  • Questioner

    Jeff Wright:

    Russia was founded by Kievan Rus’ 1000 years ago. That’s what Putin talked about.

    “The Kievan Rus (Russian Киевская Русь, Ukrainian Київська Русь, Belarusian Кіеўская Русь), also Old Russia[1], Kievan Russia[2] or Kievan Empire[3] was a medieval ancient East Slavic empire, which was the forerunner of today’s states of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.[4] The expression can also be understood as a designation of the epoch in the history of Rus’ in which Kiev, as the seat of the grand dukes, was the political and cultural center of the Rurikid dynasty.”

  • Cotour


    You sound in your reciting of history just like Joe Biden who he himself is just a kind of play-by-play announcer at a baseball game.

    Watching the goings on but has nothing to do with or at risk in the game itself.

    Other than being the cause of the chaos and confusion in the world that he himself is supposed to be leading.

    Weakness in American leadership delivers an aggressive and murderous Putin to all.

  • sippin_bourbon

    Who cares what Putin talked about. He also called the President of Ukraine, who is Jewish, a neo-nazi.

    Putin will justify his actions in public with whatever story he conjures.

    But in reality, he is simply proudly finishing the work Josef Stalin started with the Holodomor.

  • pzatchok


    That sounds like a pretty week excuse for Russian expansion.

    Using that same logic the USA could invade Mexico under the excuse we are trying to rebuild old Mexico.
    After that we could then include the USA expansion into south America just to re unite the Mayan and then Inca empires.

  • wayne

    “Your Job in Germany” (1945)
    Directed by Frank Capra,
    Written by Theodor Seuss Geisel

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