Rogozin Accuses Musk of Price Dumping

Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. (Credit: A. Savin)

Although praising Elon Musk as “a talented engineer and an outstanding promoter,” Roscosmos General Director Dmitry Rogozin last week accused the American billionaire of selling launch vehicles at below-market prices in order to squeeze out Russian providers.

“If you compare the price Musk sells his rockets to Pentagon at and the price he quotes for them on the market, you will see that this is nothing but pure dumping. In order to drive Russia from the market he sells launches at 40 to 60 million dollars while being paid 150 million for a launch by Pentagon,” he told Russia’s TV Channel One.

SpaceX officials have said that U.S. government launches require additional tasks that drive up the cost.

Meanwhile, Russia’s Glavkosmos Launch Services announced last week that it charges $48.5 million for a Soyuz 2.1 booster with a Fregat upper stage. A launch without the Fregat is priced at $35 million.

Both prices are below the amount SpaceX charges for satellite launches. The Falcon 9 is capable of orbiting larger payloads than the Soyuz 2.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    …. Where’s that violin?

    Russia has been ignoring investing in their space sector to address problems right in front of their face since the 90’s. I’d love to sit him down for an interview and ask him what actions he expects to be taken to ameliorate the situation.

  • P.K. Sink

    I already know his answer…more government control.

  • Jeff Smith

    The change from the Soviet-era system to the Russian-era has been an incredibly drawn out process. First there was the cost accounting in the Mir era, and we are in a second wave as Russia repartriates production and operations at places like Vostochny. Instead of designing new systems, they’ve been band-aiding existing ones.

    We don’t know what SpaceX’s books look like, but with EVERYONE getting leaner/cheaper in response, it if weren’t SpaceX, it would be someone else. The game is no longer reliability OR price, it’s reliability AND price – and it’ll never go back.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    And reusability. We can’t stop with the first stage booster and half a fairing though. We need to develop methods to recover second stage and even third stage boosters as well as complete fairings – at least until SSTO becomes a practical reality.

  • duheagle

    I have a certain amount of sympathy for your expressed ambition but, at the end of the day, I think it would be too much like tormenting a dumb animal.

  • duheagle

    SSTO will never become a practical reality. Reusability of all parts of a practical launch vehicle, though, is nearly upon us.

  • duheagle

    But we do know what SpaceX’s books look like. Some of them were stolen by parties unknown and published in the WSJ in January of last year. In years when it has no accidents, SpaceX is profitable and has been since at least 2012.

  • ReSpaceAge
  • ThomasLMatula

    Meanwhile SpaceX keeps up its string of successes with another successful launch and recovery. Congratulations SpaceX on your first landing in Southern California with great night time flight!

  • Enrique Moreno

    I think that reusable rockets are dumping, from a russian point of view of course…

  • Terry Rawnsley

    And Man will never fly because God didn’t give him wings and horrible things will happen to the human body when it goes faster than sound and most important of all, science won’t march on.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Az had a huge storm front over yesterday so no hope of seeing it from here.

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    SSTO will need the new materials that are promised from new material forms of carbon to attack the mass ratio part of the rocket equation and allow for Isp to be boosted by running of engines at higher pressures or maybe even novel means of storing more energy in inter-molecular bonds of dense synthetic fuels. You’re talking decades and by then TSTO will be very well known and operational. As always in the TSTO vs SSTO debate, all the technology that makes SSTO work, makes TSTO work GREAT! SSTO is for planets like Mars. Earth is a solid TSTO world.

  • Terry Rawnsley

    I wasn’t attempting to imply that SSTO would happen anytime soon or even in my lifetime or several lifetimes. I am implying that science marches on and new science and materials will hopefully render the use of chemical rockets with stages (reusable or otherwise) to get from point A to point B as antiquated as the Wright Flyer compared to today’s modern aircraft. If it doesn’t, we are likely to be confined as a species to this solar system unless we develop cryonic suspension.

  • Robert G. Oler

    Musk needs to get to a third reuse of a first stage before we blast off to BFR or single stage to orbit

  • Robert G. Oler

    LOL we are no where close to reusability…maybe economical refurbishment

  • ThomasLMatula

    Hopefully the police and the DOJ are investigating as that is a serious felony. It also goes to show why he has some basis in believing he is be prosecuted.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Sounds like you have the talking points for the smear campaign against SpaceX down. BTW no where has Elon Musk discussed building a SSTO.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing-may-have-used-firm-to-plant-anti-spacex-oped-2018-10

    Boeing may have used a lobbying firm to plant
    a scathing opinion piece about SpaceX in US news outlets. At stake is
    billions of dollars in NASA contracts.

    Dave Mosher

  • redneck

    Just out of morbid curiosity, where are you moving the goalposts next after the F9s start multiple turnaround?

  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    Ah, sorry. I see your point. … Yes, there will be alternatives. It won’t be like this forever. Our descendants will think we were noble savages and nuts to ride to orbit on rockets. They’ll probably look back and have a tinge of envy that we did it.

  • Robert G. Oler

    why would Boeing do that? anyone who thinks that an op ed is going to change public opinion which would force a change in NASA policy is just not in the real world

    do you really think an OP has that much power?

  • Robert G. Oler

    First off I am not

    Elon has claimed that the current Falcon version can do 10 launches gas and go and I think he said 100 after that with refurbishment

    So far…we have two reuses and no real gas and go.

    you do understand the difference between refurbishment and reuse

    when they get past three reuses and come to something like a week or two between launches we can all start bowing to St. Elon.

  • duheagle

    I wouldn’t be holding my breath on that one. A license to steal pretty much comes with the journalism degree these days.

  • duheagle

    Not too worried about a third reuse. The booster for yesterday’s mission was a Block 5 retread so it already has two flights on it and, having RTLSed to Landing Zone 4, it’s right there at Vandy. With the final Iridium Next mission coming up in Nov., I’d be very much surprised if we don’t see that puppy doing its third mission then. That would also demonstrate a roughly one month turn-around. There’ll probably be some Block 5’s with five or six missions on them by the time BFS starts grasshopping down at Boca Chica. The remaining dead-enders in the “reusability is bunk” brigade – er company – er platoon – er squad – are going to start looking like Luke, Leia and Han in the Death Star trash compactor pretty soon.

    Don’t hold your breath for SSTO.

  • duheagle

    When all you’ve got is lies, inferences and invective then you run what you brung.

    I don’t think it’ll work either, but then I’m not a legacy OldSpace dinosaur looking to protect my phoney-baloney job. Panic and magical thinking have been running in tandem since time immemorial. Expecting cold rationality from someone who’s got his balls in a vise is just maybe a bit much.

  • duheagle

    We’re already at economical refurbishment – past it, in fact.

    Get your laughing in before people start looking at you sideways and edging away.

  • duheagle

    Third reuse might happen as soon as next month. A fourth reuse could easily happen in 1Q 2019, as could a one-week-or-less turnaround. On the turnaround front, I am going to be very interested in how long it takes to do both a Block 5 1st stage and a Dragon 2 for the in-flight abort test following the unmanned ISS visit. I think the goalposts you’ve just set will be crossed or bettered on or before the end of 2Q-2019 – very possibly more than once.

  • duheagle

    I’m not sure RGO really believes all this trash talk he lays out, but it will be a moot point in fairly short order.

  • duheagle

    Yes. Well stated. SSTO, if it ever happens, will be akin to crossing the English Channel in a human-powered aircraft – interesting, if barely possible, but of no practical value.

  • duheagle

    I think it would probably take something like the fusion plasma thrusters and anti-matter-based High Drives of David Drake’s Republic of Cinnabar Navy stories to achieve useful SSTO performance on Earth or other Earth-like planets. Such things are, in principle, possible, but are exceedingly unlikely to be real before sometime in the second half of the current century at the earliest. I’d like to think I’d still be around by then, but that seems very unlikely.

  • Robert G. Oler

    that is absurd. boeing and companymight be many things but politically out of tune is not one of them. they know what works, what has a chance and what is just pissing in thewind…and this is PITW

    there is a story here…we just dont know it yet

  • Robert G. Oler

    sure…lets all stand and have a cheer. the speculation now is that the third reuse comes with the small sat massive launch coming up…but I am not holding my breath…the insurance and money question seems to be what is stopping it. As one person told me “why pay to be the third person wearing the outfit, when the samemoney buys you a new one ”

    we will see. a month turn is better but I think that the one that just flew, flew in July so well. by my counting that has been at least two months…

    as for BFR sure Dear Moon

  • Robert G. Oler

    there is no data to support that past two flights.

  • Robert G. Oler

    and if “mights” could do it everything would be fine. see what actually happens. I’ll cheer when it happens.

  • Robert G. Oler

    the thing is that at least we are “moving” in some sort of development cycle.

    you never know when the game changer comes along and develops fast. Piston engine development in airplanes was a very long affair punctuated with two world wars. but the turbojet engine moved rather quicky. It is astonishing to me to think that we went from the development of the jet in the late 30’s to the B707 platform in 20 years. it just “all came together”

    so far the “rocket engine” has resisted that…although both SpaceX and BO might have made a big leap

  • duheagle

    Boeing and what is now Lock-Mart have both engaged in out-and-out criminality in the past. Compared to prior shenanigans, paying a pittance to some ‘Have Poison Pen, Will Travel’ hired gun to sling falsehoods at a competitor in the press is pretty small beer.

  • duheagle

    Good point about the Spaceflight SSO-A mission preceding the last Iridium Next mission. I’d forgotten about that one. That’s about six weeks after last Saturday’s launch. The first use of Saturday’s booster was in late July, two and a half months prior to the SAOCOM 1A mission.

    The Iridium Next mission is shown as just “November” with no date on the Spaceflight Now Launch Schedule. SSO-A is listed as Nov. 19. Be a neat trick to really up the ante by getting a fourth reuse on that booster after an 11-day turn-around.

    I have no idea what you mean by an “insurance and money question” anent third and subsequent reuses of an F9 Block 5. Even Block 3 and Block 4 boosters were insurable at essentially the same rate as new ones.

    As for the rhetorical question posed by your “person,” there are only two classes of people who wear clothes only once – the eccentric rich and ISS astronauts. The latter would be off the list too if NASA had included laundry facilities in the ISS design. Even the eccentric rich don’t throw away cars or planes after a single use.

  • duheagle

    So will I. I just won’t be surprised.

  • duheagle

    Until there is.

  • duheagle

    Heh.

  • Robert G. Oler

    ridiculous

  • Robert G. Oler

    they were not insurable for a third reuse…and its unclear the Block V is either

  • Robert G. Oler

    when there is something to talk about until then its all “might”

    I am not a fan boy if the data is not there, its not there

  • ReSpaceAge

    At least somebody got my joke.