Former deputy director of NASA: Russian rocket engineers spat at Musk, angering Musk’s decision to launch 1,000 spaceships

In a recently published memoir, former NASA associate administrator Lori Garver recounted in detail how Elon Musk started SpaceX and developed its own rocket. The memoir, Escaping Gravity: My Quest to Transform NASA and Launch a New Space Age, was published June 21.

As we all know, Musk decided to start SpaceX mainly because he was frustrated in seeking help from Russia, and even was spat at by Russian engineers.

Garver wrote in the book: “Musk felt insulted by this move, and for this reason he decided to start his own rocket company to compete with Russia on the flight back to the United States. Obviously, this spit inspired Musk to launch 1,000 rockets. the ambition of a spaceship.”

Former deputy director of NASA: Russian rocket engineers spat at Musk, angering Musk's decision to launch 1,000 spaceships

Garver also recounts the commercialization of the U.S. space industry during her time as NASA deputy administrator in the Obama administration. The book highlights Garver’s efforts to make space travel more affordable.

Garver’s first meeting with Musk occurred in the summer of 2002, when the two discussed NASA’s reliance on Russia. Previously, Garver had just completed a period of training in Russia, ready to board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft. However, Garver lost the opportunity because singer Lance Bass was involved in the bidding.

The former NASA official is not the first to speak at length about the incident. Last month, SpaceX co-founder Jim Cantrell said the Russians were unfriendly to Musk when he took him to Moscow to negotiate a deal to buy a rocket that would be used in the future. Send mice or plants to Mars.

“When Musk spoke, Russia’s chief engineer got very agitated. He seemed tired of hearing him and spat on our shoes,” Cantrell said in a documentary that aired in May.

Cantrell speculated that the Russians may have viewed Musk’s informal attire as “disrespectful to their performance.” But Garver writes in the book that Musk’s “disruptor mentality and lack of respect for traditional industries” often have similar effects on NASA and White House staff.

Former deputy director of NASA: Russian rocket engineers spat at Musk, angering Musk's decision to launch 1,000 spaceships

There is a similar description in the book “Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Better Future” by Ashlee Vance. The book also interviewed SpaceX co-founder Cantrell, saying that in several conversations in Moscow, the Russians had a bad attitude towards Musk. While Russians are more interested in small talk and a drink, Musk is eager to get down to business.

“They (Russians) looked at us like we couldn’t be trusted.” He also believes that the chief Russian designer spat at them because “he thought we were all shit.” In fact, even the horses Sk’s close friend Adeo Ressi has also questioned whether the billionaire is crazy.

The Russians were ultimately unable to agree on a price with Musk, prompting Musk to “leave the room in a fit of rage,” according to the book’s description. But, Cantrell said, it was on the flight back to the U.S. that Musk got the idea to build his own rocket.

Former deputy director of NASA: Russian rocket engineers spat at Musk, angering Musk's decision to launch 1,000 spaceships

Less than a year after that, SpaceX was announced, and it has grown into one of the most valuable private companies. Last year, SpaceX launched the world’s first purely commercial orbital mission. According to Musk, the company has signed a contract to build a lunar lander for NASA and is preparing to launch the world’s most powerful rocket by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, Musk’s rivalry with Russia has been going on for a long time. Recently, the billionaire and the head of Russia’s aviation agency Dmitry Rogozin have erupted in multiple spats on Twitter.

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