‘He has always been a fool:’ Retired NASA astronauts roast Russian space agency head on Twitter

Former astronauts react to video posted by Roscosmos director Dmitry Rogozin

FILE - In this Wednesday, March 4, 2015 photo provided by NASA, astronaut Scott Kelly sits inside a Soyuz simulator at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center (GCTC) in Star City, Russia. Astronaut wannabe Rachel Zimmerman-Brachman, a public engagement specialist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, says that isolation is a lot like astronaut training. On Thursday, March 19, 2020, she wrote on Facebook,Attitude is everything: I'm on an adventure in a confined space with a small crew for a long duration mission, with occasional space walks and resupply missions. Sounds like astronaut training to me.(Bill Ingalls/NASA via AP) (Bill Ingalls)

ORLANDO, Fla. – A video purportedly showing Roscosmos launch crews covering up flags of international space partners on a Soyuz rocket — including the U.S. flag — is receiving sharp criticism from two former NASA astronauts.

Retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly responded to the video in Russian, saying “without those flags and the foreign exchange they bring in, your space program won’t be worth a damn. Maybe you can find a job at McDonald’s if McDonald’s still exists in Russia.”

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency, shared a video on Twitter last week of the rocket topped with OneWeb internet satellites at the Baikonur Cosmodrome launch pad in Kazakhstan.

According to a translation, the caption reads: “the launchers at Baikonur decided that without the flags of some countries, our rocket would look more beautiful.”

Workers appear to cover up the flags of the U.S., the United Kingdom, Japan with large industrial stickers. All three countries have ordered sanctions against Russia in response to the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Retired NASA astronaut Garrett Reisman also reacted to the video.

“@Rogozin has always been a fool. Only now he actually mortally wounds Roskosmos and ends one of the few remaining sources of currency for Russia. Keep this in mind when your ATM is empty. It will need a trampoline soon,” Reisman wrote on Twitter.

The Roscosmos video was posted the same day OneWeb canceled the satellite mission and ordered its staff to leave the Russian-controlled site. The decision came after the company refused to accept an ultimatum from Roscosmos saying the launch can only move forward if OneWebb guarantees the satellites would not be used for military purposes and the British government withdraws funding for the company.

Kelly, a space veteran who currently holds the records for number of continuous days in space, tweeted directly to Russia president Vladimir Putin last month urging him to stop the ongoing war in Ukraine.

For close to 50 years, the U.S. and Russia have been collaborating on space projects, culminating with the International Space Station, News 6 partner Florida Today reports.

During a press conference last month, NASA official Kathy Lueders said the partnership between the U.S. and Russia on the ISS remains unaffected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the planned return of NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft on March 30 will happen as planned.

About the Author:

Katrina Scales is a producer for the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m. She also writes and voices the podcast Your Florida Daily. Katrina was born and raised in Brevard County and started her journalism career in radio before joining News 6 in June 2021.