US wants to drive Russia out of space launch market by sanctions - Russia's Deputy PM
"The Americans want to eliminate us from the space services market, to put into question the capability of our companies to produce carrier rockets and put foreign satellites into orbit," Dmitry Rogozin said.
He said the US sanctions against Russia will also affect its partners in Europe, namely the European Space Agency. "In fact, under the guise of fighting against Russia, the Americans are also fighting with their European rivals. Today, they are trying to kill Europe. If the Europeans choose to stagger behind the Americans, they will lose not only their good name and reputation, they will also lose a great deal of their own economic potential," the Russian deputy premier added.
He reiterated Russia's warning that sanctions were "always a boomerang that will fly back and painfully hit the one who had launched it".
"If they [the US] want to make an economic blow to the Russian rocket building industry, then they should consider using a trampoline to deliver their astronauts to the International Space Station," he said.
The Russian Soyuz rocket and spacecraft, widely considered the most reliable manned space launch system in history, are currently the only means of reaching the station following the retirement of the US space shuttle three years ago. Under a contract between Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA, signed on March 14, 2011, Soyuz spacecraft will take at least 12 US astronauts to the ISS and back until 2016.