‘American broomsticks’: Elon Musk taunts Russia after they stop selling US their rocket engines

SpaceX boss Elon Musk mocked Russia as the country said it would stop providing rocket engines to the United States in retaliation to sanctions placed on it for invading Ukraine.

The boss of state space agency, Dmiitry Rogozin, was ridiculed by Mr Musk after suggesting that the US would have to go into orbit on “their broomsticks.”

“American broomsticks,” taunted Mr Musk on Twitter as he posted a video of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launching another 47 Starlink satellite into orbit.

Mr Musk appears to have riled the Russian government after activating the SpaceX satellite-internet system over Ukraine in response to a request from the embattled country’s leadership.

The entrepreneur has also publicly offered Ukraine advice on how best to stay connected to the internet during the Russian invasion.

Mr Rogozin told Russian state television: “In a situation like this we can’t supply the United States with our world’s best rocket engines. Let them fly on something else, their broomsticks, I don’t know what.”

He said that Russia had delivered 122 RD-180 engines to the US since the 1990s, of which 98 were used to power Atlas launch vehicles.

In addition to taunting Russia, Mr Musk also announced on Thursday that SpaceX had updated its Starlink software “to reduce peak power consumption, so Starlink can be powered from car cigarette lighter.”

And he added: “Mobile roaming enabled, so phased array antenna can maintain signal while on moving vehicle.”

On Wednesday, Mr Musk had derided Mr Rogozin, who is the former Russian Deputy Prime Minister, after he questioned why the entrepreneur had made Starlink available after the Russian invasion.

“Ukraine civilian Internet was experiencing strange outages – bad weather perhaps? – so SpaceX is helping fix it,” tweeted Mr Musk at the politician.

It also came after Mykhailo Fedorov, minister of digital transformation for Ukraine, posted a picture of a Starlink terminal on a roof in Ukraine.

“With Russian attacks on our infra, we need generators to keep Starlinks & life-saving services online – ideas?,” Mr Fedorov tweeted at Mr Musk.

He replied to him that solar panels and battery packs would be better than generators for powering the terminals during the conflict.

The SpaceX CEO also added that solar does not have a “heat signature or smoke & doesn’t run out of fuel.”

“(Elon Musk) great suggestions! We’re unlucky w/ weather- clouds + smoke from burning cities and with infra damage can’t grid charge batteries,” the minister replied.

“Last time for fossil fuels now? then you help rebuild Ukraine w full solar+storage?”

Mr Musk replied that despite the “obscuration” the solar “works better than one might think.”

“Good point – should work even with Ukrainian winters! We will keep you posted as we roll out more Starlinks across the country. THANK YOU again for helping us out with (Starlink)- this will save a lot of lives,” tweeted Mr Fedorov.

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