Head of NASA brushes off Russian space chief’s hostile comments by saying he ‘spouts off every now and then’

  • NASA head Bill Nelson addressed hostile comments made by Russia’s space chief, following sanctions.
  • In an interview with AP, he said: “That’s just Dmitry Rogozin,” adding that he tends to “spout off.”
  • Nelson specifically addressed Rogozin’s suggestion that the US fly to space on “broomsticks.”

NASA administrator Bill Nelson has brushed off recent comments made by Russia’s space chief about ending cooperation between Russia and the US. 

In an interview with the Associated Press, Nelson discussed the suggestion by Dmitry Rogozin, head of the Roscosmos space agency, that the US fly to space on “broomsticks,” after Russia announced it would stop selling rocket engines to the US.

Nelson responded to the remarks, saying: “That’s just Dmitry Rogozin.” He added: “He spouts off every now and then. But at the end of the day, he’s worked with us.”

The move to halt engine sales came in retaliation against foreign sanctions imposed on Russia, following its invasion of Ukraine. 

It was not the only reaction from Russia, however. In February, Rogozin responded to new sanctions by suggesting that the International  Space Station (ISS) could crash into the US or Europe

Rogozin said on Twitter: “If you block cooperation with us, who will save the ISS from an uncontrolled deorbit and fall into the United States or Europe?” 

Earlier this month, Russia also announced it had axed joint experiments with Germany on the ISS. 

Nelson told AP: “Despite all of that, up in space, we can have a cooperation with our Russian friends, our colleagues. The professional relationship between astronauts and cosmonauts, it hasn’t missed a beat.”

He added: “This is the cooperation we have going on in the civilian space program.”