Elon Musk `Stepping on Toes' in Space Race, Russia Official Says

SpaceX Launches and Lands Rocket
  • Deputy Premier Rogozin says Musk's space work is `interesting'
  • Russia needs cheaper space flights to keep market share

Elon Musk’s success in launching reusable space rockets means Russia must make its own projects cheaper as the cash-strapped country struggles to retain its share of the market, the country’s defense-industry chief said.

“The main goal today is to make space cheap,” Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who’s in charge of defense, told Rossiya 24 TV in an interview on Wednesday in Moscow. “Competitors are stepping on our toes. Look at what billionaire Musk is doing with his projects. This is very interesting, well done, and we treat this work with respect.”

Dmitry Rogozin
Dmitry Rogozin
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Rogozin’s comments follow the first successful liftoff and landing of a reusable spacecraft this month by Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp. The South African-born mogul says the technology will dramatically cut the cost of space launches.

At the same time, Russia’s space industry has been hit by systemic under-financing and a brain drain after the collapse of the Soviet Union, while also suffering a series of botched space launches in recent years. Russia is one of the global leaders in the multibillion-dollar civilian space business.