On Friday, December 18, a Soyuz 2.1b rocket launched from the Vostochny Cosmodrome – Russia’s spaceport in the far east of the nation in Amur. Onboard the rocket was a payload of 36 OneWeb satellites, which is similar in concept to Elon Musk’s Starlink broadband service.
When the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, launches its rockets, four boosters drop off after a few minutes, followed soon afterwards by the “Blok A” second stage.
As the rockets generally fall on land in the biggest country on the planet, Roscosmos has established drop zones where the rockets can safely fall in to.
Making launches from Russia more difficult are conditions well below freezing, meaning Roscosmos has to battle the weather and the land when launching.
The head of the Russian space agency, Dmitry Rogozin, has claimed that “gentle” SpaceX would not be able to do what Roscosmos does.
SpaceX usually launches from California and Florida, as well as its Starship facilities in Boca Chica, South Texas, where weather conditions are almost always perfect.
Mr Rogozin said on Facebook: “This is not Boca Chica. This is Yakutia, and in winter.
“The 2 OneWeb 42 mission security management calculation was deployed two days before yesterday’s launch. Temperature – minus 52C.
“Temperature restrictions on launches for the Union-2-minus 40 degrees.
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“Yes, landing this stage in the middle of the ocean on a tiny target is much easier than pulling up trucks with tents just to track where this part of the rocket crashes.”
Twitter user David Willis said: “Would it be worth it to put parachutes onboard to attempt recovery and reuse?”
This is not the first time Mr Rogozin has taken a swipe at SpaceX.
In 2014 he said the US might as well “deliver its astronauts to the ISS by using a trampoline” — a reference to how the US had to rely on Russian spacecraft to launch astronauts into space since 2011.