For now, space lore remains powerful, but russian space is not as glorious as before. The country is making shameful setbacks in a field. It once dominated by rotting from within, but thats, not all theres, something even worse than that. Russia is completely humiliated by a u.s private space company, a private company that competes with an entire nation. More surprisingly, it won its unbelievable, but its definitely true. Russia lost billions of dollars in the rocket business to elon musks space x. How could this have happened? Lets find out in todays episode of great spacex the first time that russia lost its rocket launch business was the time that spacex started to gain momentum. Since the space shuttle was retired in july of 2011, america was forced to depend on russia to ensure the presence of americans in space. As of april of 2020, a total of 38 americans have flown on 35 launches, one of which, two years ago, nearly ended in disaster, but which otherwise have been successful, notably russian space launches themselves. Arent, cheap nasa has bought flights for its astronauts on soyuz at a cost of 86 million dollars per seat. In total, america has had to pay russia up to around 4 billion an expensive amount to ensure continued american human spaceflight. However, spacexs crew dragon ended russias reign over america in may of 2020.. The successful demo 2 mission returned to spaceflight to u.s soil and for a substantially lower cost, only 55 million dollars per seat.
As a result, the russian industry lost billions of dollars in the rocket launch business to elon, musk and spacex. However, this isnt, the worst that could happen a 2022 invasion of ukraine intended to reassert russian relevance on the world stage, has had the opposite effect in space by destroying collaborations with europe. Russia has transformed itself into the worlds first, former space power. The early years of the space race, were often led by the soviet union as it raced to beat the us. It launched the first satellite and the first astronaut and made considerable advancements in rocketry after the soviet union fell in 1991. Ross cosmos also inherited rocket technology by the early 1990s, updated versions of soyuz. A soviet rocket first launched in 1966 and proton a soviet rocket launched in 1965, were still reliable and in use the european space agency was concerned at the time that it could not maintain access to space by relying on its own rockets or american ones. In 1996. An arrangement was formed so that france based arianespace sa the worlds first private launch company, could market and operate soyuz rockets, ross cosmos and the europeans agreed a few years later to build launch facilities for the soyuz at the french operated european spaceport in french guiana. It was a winning deal, europe gained access to launch services, and russia received an important financial lifeline. As recently as 2013, russia controlled around half of the global commercial launch industry, but competition loomed in the distance during the 2000s spacex, founded by the electric car pioneer elon musk, on the belief that rockets dont need to be monopolized by state backed contractors drove a 20 Fold reduction in the cost of a commercial launch by 2020 spacex represented half of the commercial satellite launch market and russia was down to only 10 percent.
That was a big problem over the years as russias economy struggled ross, cosmos had leaned on commercial activities for funding. As businesses moved elsewhere, that funding suffered between 2014 and 2020 roscosmos budget fell from 5 billion to 1.4 billion. Nasas 2021 budget was 23.3 billion dollars. Last year, president vladimir putin declared that russia needed to master new rocket technologies to compete for commercial space launches against spacex and then proceeded to cut funding for russias spaceflight activities. Even more roscosmos could still count on the iss and its commercial collaborations with europe for financing the most important european example was a record 1 billion contract signed by oneweb, a british satellite broadband provider for 21 launches via arianespace. Then russia invaded ukraine, drawing sanctions from the european union and the uk. Ross cosmos responded by suspending rocket operations and recalling russian staff from the french guiana spaceport that left four european satellites and one space telescope in search of new launch vehicles. A few days later, roz cosmos informed oneweb that it would not launch its satellites unless it received guarantees that the satellites would not be used for military purposes, and the uk government would divest from one web ownership. One web responded by hiring spacex to take russias place. The european space agency informed russia that it would no longer collaborate on a joint mars mission which it can afford to pursue alone. Raz cosmos cannot amid sanctions and russias belligerence toward its european partners, who would hire them.
That leaves a once proud space program with no apparent way to remain relevant as a space power and to add fuel to the proverbial fire. Usrd 180 rocket engine servicing. One of the crucial sources of funding for roscosmos was severed by themselves. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. According to russian state news agency tass, russian company ernergamash, which builds rocket engines for both ross cosmos and for export, sold its rd 180 engines to ula for about 9.9 million dollars a piece as dmitry ruggison. The head of roscosmos said russia has delivered 122 of the rd 180 engines to the us since the 1990s, equivalent to taking in more than 1.2 billion dollars, 98 engines of which have been used, but russia would no longer be servicing. The remaining 24. ross. Cosmos also said in a tweet referencing the interview with mr rogison that it would cease selling engines to the u.s. Perhaps in rogazins mind the u.s still depends on the supplies of russian rocket engines and to stop supplying rocket engines to the us is retaliation for the u.s sanctions against russia over the invasion of ukraine. But, of course, like most of rogozins ideas. They didnt turn out for the best us air force. Secretary, frank kendall, said u.s national security launches will not be affected by russias decision. I think our launch needs will be met. Kendall told reporters on march 3rd at the air force associations, air warfare symposium. How could he say something so controversial? Yet so bold thats, because they have spacexs support, spacex, designed and manufactured their own rocket engines whats more.
They built the first methane engine to ever. Fly were talking, of course, about the raptor engine at the rate of producing an engine per day. As a quick note, this productivity is still improving day by day. Spacex. Not only has enough engines to power its own rockets, but it can also supply to other parties. Therefore, russias decision makes no sense to the us. On the contrary, russian space itself depends on rocket engine supplies to the u.s and the decision to stop supplying those rocket engines has caused the already narrow source of income to become even more exhausted. The industry, which has been deeply hurt by western sanctions, is now becoming more and more difficult because of its increasingly drying financial resources. Whatever route russias leadership takes back to space its unlikely to restore its nations status as a space pioneer. Instead, thanks to spacex and ukraine, russia has become historys first former space superpower and thats it for todays episode. If you enjoy what my team and i are doing, you can become a patron through our patreon link in the description below and as a quick note, if you have advertising needs, you can contact us directly via email. Otherwise, as always, this is kevin with great spacex and my team, and i will see you next time. Thank you.