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Iran Press TV

Russian space agency calls Trump's reaction to SpaceX launch 'hysteria'

Iran Press TV

Sunday, 31 May 2020 3:38 PM

The Russian space agency Roscosmos has criticized US President Donald Trump's reaction to NASA's launch of two astronauts into space, calling it "hysteria."

On Saturday, a rocket from private US rocket company SpaceX thundered away from Earth with two NASA astronauts on a historic first private crewed flight into space.

SpaceX launched the two Americans into orbit from Florida en route to the International Space Station (ISS), in a mission that marks the first spaceflight of NASA astronauts from US soil in nine years.

Since NASA's final space shuttle flight in 2011, the US space agency had to rely on Roscosmos to get to the ISS.

Trump hailed SpaceX's first crew launch as the dawn of a new era in spaceflight, saying the United States had regained its place as the world's leader in space.

He said US astronauts would soon land on Mars, adding that Washington would soon have "the greatest weapons ever imagined in history."

Vladimir Ustimenko, spokesman for Roscosmos, wrote on Twitter that, "The hysteria raised after the successful launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft is hard to understand."

"What has happened should have happened long ago. Now it's not only the Russians flying to the ISS, but also the Americans. Well that's wonderful!"

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center at 3:22 p.m. EDT (1922 GMT), launching Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken on a 19-hour ride aboard the company's newly designed Crew Dragon capsule bound for the International Space Station.

Crew Dragon separated from its second stage booster at 3:35 and minutes later entered orbit.

Moscow would not be sitting idly by, Ustimenko said.

"..We are not going to rest on our laurels either. We will test two new rockets this year, and next year we will resume our lunar program. It will be interesting," said Ustimenko.

This comes as Russia had previously expressed concern about the growing militarization of space by the United States and its allies, warning that such hostile measures should be counterbalanced.

The warning came after Washington announced plans to deploy weapons to space.

Russia lambasted Washington's idea, which could trigger a new era of arms race in space, stressing that the implementation of US military plans in space would inflict irreparable damage upon the current space security system.

Last year, Trump announced the establishment of a new Space Force branch of the military, despite opposition from the Pentagon.

The US claims that both China and Russia have been seeking to militarize space. In a report in 2019, the US Defense Intelligence Agency described the two countries as the "real threats" to "US capabilities" in outer space.

Analysts say the US exaggerates the space military capabilities of Russia and China as a pretext to accelerate its own plans to prepare for space warfare.

Washington is a member of the Outer Space Treaty, which prohibits the deployment of weapons of mass destruction in space and only allows for the use of the moon and other celestial bodies for peaceful purposes.

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