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What just happened? Elon Musk has responded to a tweet from Russian space chief Dmitry Rogozin that asked who will save the International Space Station (ISS) from crashing into Earth. The world’s richest person’s answer was a logo of SpaceX.
The many sanctions imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine last week will “degrade [Russia’s] aerospace industry, including their space program,” said President Joe Biden. The news prompted a series of tweets from Rogozin, the head of Russia state space corporation, Roscosmos, that claimed without their participation, there would be no one to correct the ISS’ orbit, causing it to crash somewhere in the US, Europe, India, or China.
"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 said in another Tweet.
While NASA does rely on Russia to keep the ISS in orbit and stop it from entering the Earth’s atmosphere, Wayne Hale, former program manager of NASA’s Space Shuttle and a member of NASA’s Advisory Council, told The Verge this would take several years, leaving NASA plenty of time to find a solution.
One answer could come from Elon Musk. He tweeted a logo of SpaceX as a reply to Rogozin’s rant, and when another Twitter user asked if he was being serious, the CEO wrote a simple “yes.”
Pete Harding, the International Space Station Editor for NASASpaceFlight.com, posted a lengthy Twitter thread explaining how SpaceX’s Dragon craft could dock with the ISS to provide reboost capability and attitude control, which Musk complimented.
With Cygnus near to Dragon on the aft end of the station, and two Dragons docked to the forward end, this would give very good attitude control capability, and provide multiple reboost options. pic.twitter.com/jPp5JnsYHE— Pete 🚀 🛰 (@Space_Pete) February 25, 2022
The good news is that both NASA and Roscosmos have confirmed they are still cooperating on the ISS, so Musk’s intervention might not be necessary. If it is, let’s hope things go better than when he tried to rescue the Thai soccer team trapped in a flooded cave system.
In other Elon Musk news, the Tesla boss saw his status as the only person worth over $200 billion come to an end last week.