Elon Musk sends his last regards to Russia

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Elon Musk will not go on vacation to Russia.

The Tesla (TSLA) – Get the report from Tesla Inc. The CEO, who has become a global influencer with more than 102 million followers on microblogging site Twitter, doesn’t really care about Moscow. He never hid it.

When President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Musk was the first CEO to speak out publicly and side with Kyiv. The tech mogul also sent dozens of Starlink terminals, the satellite internet connection service offered by his company SpaceX, to Ukraine.

Starlink notably allows the Ukrainian population to have a secure internet despite the destruction of telecommunications equipment by the Russian army. This internet connection allowed the Ukrainian authorities to communicate securely, but also the Ukrainian citizens to continue to communicate with the outside world.

‘Have a good trip’

Musk had even offered Putin a duel between them to end the war. But his positions had caused a stir and aroused anger in Moscow. Musk’s repeated criticism has earned him threats from Putin loyalists.

“Elon Musk is thus involved in supplying the fascist forces in Ukraine with military communications,” wrote Dmitri Rogozin, head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, last May. The message was posted on Twitter by Musk. “And for that you’ll have to respond in a grown-up way, Elon, no matter how you turn on the jerk.”

“If I die in mysterious circumstances, it’s nice to know you,” replied the billionaire.

These disputes have caused gaping wounds on both sides. And we just got over it after the announcement that Russia would leave the international space station after 2024.

“You know that we are working within the framework of international cooperation at the International Space Station,” Roscosmos chief Yury Borisov told Putin in a statement issued by the Kremlin on July 26. “Without a doubt, we will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision to leave the station after 2024 has been taken.”

Roscosmos is the Russian space agency.

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While the great powers still question Moscow’s calculations, there is one person the Russians won’t miss. It’s Musk.

“Bon voyage”, reacted the entrepreneur, using French to say goodbye.

Is it just another threat?

However, NASA said it had not yet received official notification of the Russian decision.

“The Russians, like us, are thinking about what lies ahead. As we plan the post-2030 transition to commercially operated space stations in low Earth orbit, they have a similar plan. And so they are also thinking about that transition. We haven’t received any official word from the partner regarding the news today, so we’ll talk more about their plan for the future,” said Robyn Gatens, International Space Station Director for NASA.

A model of international cooperation bringing together Europe, Japan, the United States and Russia, the ISS began assembly in 1998. Its retirement was scheduled for 2024, but NASA estimated that it could operate until 2030.

The Russian announcement of wanting to withdraw from the ISS comes ten days after Borissov was appointed head of Roscomos. He replaced the abrasive and ultra-nationalist Rogozin, a close ally of Putin and archenemy of Musk.

In 2020, Russia lost its monopoly on maned space launches with its aging Soyuz launch vehicles and spacecraft, with the arrival on the scene of the Musk’s Dragon space capsule that can be launched with reusable SpaceX booster rockets.

Russian-Western cooperation in the space field has also been undermined since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Western sanctions taken against Russia due to the war partly affect the Russian aerospace industry and risk having effects on the ISS, some of whose supplies could be disrupted.

This is not the first time that Russia has threatened to leave the ISS. Before his dismissal, Rogozin had already hinted that because of the sanctions Russia would abandon the idea of ​​extending the life of the ISS until 2030. He had thus affirmed in March that without the Russians the ISS would crash on Earth, for lack of means to correct the orbit of the structure of 500 tons. Musk tweeted at the time that SpaceX could fill that role.

Russia wants to go solo despite facing serious issues that have slowed its programs and innovation for many years.

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