After Russia's threat, Elon Musk says SpaceX can protect the ISS from deorbiting
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk made a major pitch to protect the International Space Station (ISS) from deorbiting after Russian Space Chief claimed that it could potentially crash back into Earth.
The U.S. and its allies are putting in place multiple sanctions to pressure Russia to drop its aggression against Ukraine. While Russian banks have been removed from the international payments system, SWIFT, the U.S. has also imposed strong sanctions aimed at degrading the Russian aerospace industry, including their space program, President Joe Biden had said last week.
Reacting to these sanctions, the chief of the Russian Space Agency, Dmitry Rogozin said on Twitter that the U.S. had blocked Russian access to radiation-resistant space microelectronics, way back in 2014. However, Russia continued to make its own spacecraft by producing all necessary components on its own.
Calling President Biden unaware of the intricacies of the space program, Rogozin elaborated that orbit correction and collision avoidance on the ISS is powered by Russian engines, and blocking cooperation would also mean losing access to these features.
In a not-so-veiled threat, Rogozin also went on to state that the ISS did not fly over the Russian land and it was very much possible that the 500-ton structure could fall over Europe or the United States. This is where Musk jumped in on Twitter and without saying much just pasted the logo of his space company in a reply.
NASA trusts in Musk's company to launch a crewed mission to Moon, it would not be surprising if it were approached to handle the ISS on an SOS basis as well. With demonstrated experience in rocket engines, spacecraft maneuvering, and collision avoidance, SpaceX would be the most preferred entity to handle this.
With regards to Musk, one would probably ask him not to get involved in a conflict between two nations, but he has made his choices clear when Starlink began offering services in Ukraine yesterday.