Russian space agency Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin took on SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, saying he has disrupted the space launch market with predatory pricing which has forced Russia to reduce its own launch prices for other countries.
In a Twitter post on Saturday, Rogozin wrote: "Instead of honest competition on the market for space launches, they are lobbying for sanctions against us and use price dumping with impunity".
Issue raised by Twitterati
The issue was then raised by Twitterati. Eric Berger, senior space editor at Ars Technica, tweeted: "What's specious about these arguments is that no Russians or Europeans complained when ULA got far higher 'subsidies.' But now that SpaceX comes along with a commercial rocket far cheaper than competitors, it's suddenly totally unfair.
Musk replied to Berger, taking a dig at Russian space agency chief: "SpaceX rockets are 80 percent reusable, theirs are 0 percent. This is the actual problem".
The Donald Trump administration aims to end its dependency on Russia for sending rockets and cargo to space, and is aggressively pushing the US space players like Musk's SpaceX, Boeing and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin to take over.
NASA selected SpaceX and Boeing to create integrated spacecraft, rockets and associated systems to carry astronauts on NASA missions in September 2014. SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsule earlier completed its unmanned flight test to the space station.
Astronauts space-bound in May
SpaceX is scheduled to send astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) in May on board its reusable Falcon 9 rocket. SpaceX's Crew Dragon capsules will also start transporting tourists to the ISS next year.
In January, SpaceX successfully launched an emergency abort system test above Cape Canaveral and into the Atlantic Ocean. NASA has also picked SpaceX to provide launch services for the agency's Psyche mission that would journey to a unique metal-rich asteroid, also named Psyche, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.
The Psyche mission currently is targeted to launch in July 2022 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the US space agency said in a statement recently. The total cost for NASA to launch Psyche and the secondary payloads is approximately $117 million, which includes the launch service and other mission-related costs.