Elon Musk responds to Russia’s International Space Station potential threat

Elon Musk has countered a threat from Russia to drop the International Space Station from orbit, saying SpaceX will step in before that happens.


Last week, after Russia invaded Ukraine, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his administration would implement new sanctions that would significantly affect Russia’s space program.

In response, Dmitry Rogozin, the director general of Russian space agency Roscosmos, shared his candid thoughts online. “Do you want to destroy our cooperation on the ISS?” Rogozin tweeted in Russian (translated with Twitter translate).

“If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from uncontrolled deorbiting and falling 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?” Rogozin added.

Rogozin’s words suggest that, without Russia’s Soyuz craft to boost the space station, it would deorbit and fall to Earth. However, any visiting vehicle with extra fuel, certainly including SpaceX’s Crew Dragon capsule, can boost the station and keep it going as it has been.

While Rogozin’s messages implied that the fate of the space station rests solely on Russia and its Soyuz capsules boosting the station in orbit, any spacecraft with extra fuel can do that. This message from Musk heavily implies that, even with no Soyuz capsules at the station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft could just as well do the job.

In other words, the space station and NASA no longer need Russia’s Soyuz, they have the Dragon.