The Cold War between the United States and Russia may be heating up again. And this time, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is caught in the crosshairs.
As we’re sure you know, Elon Musk is everywhere these days. He’s building cars over at Tesla. He’s launching reusable rockets into space. He’s even launching cars he’s built into space using reusable rockets.
We’d say Musk needs to find a hobby, but we’re pretty sure his businesses are his hobbies (the best proof of which is a flamethrower that we’re pretty sure he built for the fun of it).
But while Elon and his rockets continue to attract attention to the burgeoning space industry, another player has re-entered the field: Russia.
While the world was hooked on America’s new “Space Race,” which features companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic all vying for control of the final frontier, Russia has been cooking up a surprise for all of them: nuclear-powered reusable rockets.
You read that right.
The claim was backed up by a recent successful test by the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, of the rocket’s cooling systems (which we have to assume is pretty important for a nuclear-anything).This past week, the head of Moscow’s Keldysh Research Center, Vladimir Koshlakov, went public with some groundbreaking news: after nearly a decade of work, they have perfected a nuclear-powered rocket.
During the press conference, which went along with a simultaneous release of a video on the Roscosmos Facebook page, Koshlakov wasted no time throwing down the gauntlet at Elon Musk, saying:
He didn’t stop there, either. He went on to say that he and his team didn’t even view Musk as a true competitor and that SpaceX was using rocket technology that will soon “be antiquated.”
We couldn’t help but think of this gem of Cold War-era cinema:
There is obviously a good bit of showboating going on here, a tactic Musk himself is no stranger to. However, the Russian Space Agency may have a point — at least on the surface.
Queue “Rocket-Building Montage”
To the amazement of anyone who knows anything about rocketry, SpaceX is currently valued at as much as $27 billion. That’s pretty impressive, given that until recently, entire countries were the only entities with the resources to consistently launch stuff into orbit.
Musk did this by “going back to the basics.” Famously, SpaceX was born on the flight back home from, of all places, Russia. Back in 2001, Musk had a dream to terraform Mars (we told you he had hobbies). He wanted to do this to inspire a new generation of Americans to dream big and literally reach for the stars.
He had a point, too: For decades, NASA’s budget had slowly been shrinking, probably due to the lack of Cold War-inspired competition from you know who…
But how to get a greenhouse of Earth-born plants to Mars? That’s why Musk went to Russia. He wanted to buy unused ICBM missiles from the recently dethroned global superpower. In true Russian form, there was lots of negotiating, but in the end, Musk walked away in frustration. So he resolved to build his own rocket.
It sounds crazy at first. But often Musk’s brilliance lies in his ability to boil things down to basic physics. Ever since we’ve been a space-visiting species, we’ve gotten more and more complex with how we get there. By the end of the space shuttle program in the early 2000s, there were hundreds of NASA subcontractors building an unimaginable quantity of parts, components, and technologies.
So, Musk asked himself a question: how much of modern rockets are actually necessary according to the laws of physics?
It turns out not much. On that famous plane flight back from Russia, Musk, with a textbook on rocket science by his side, created a spreadsheet listing all the things he needed to build a rocket that would get into orbit.
Reusable Rockets With a Nuclear Twist
To be clear, we are not rocket scientists. Nor do we feel qualified to comment on the practicality of Russia’s nuclear rocket ambitions.
One thing we do understand and immediately honed in on was the other point Russia made in its “big” announcement: rocket reusability. Vladimir Koshlakov said:
This is a big deal. We now have an entire country’s space program, the same country that launched the first satellite and first person into space, on board the “reusable rocket train.”
Space Race 2.0 is finally here. Is your portfolio ready to profit?
We here at Wealth Daily have been keeping tabs on this emerging industry for the last 12 to 18 months. And from what we’ve learned, we have a suspicion that while Russia’s technology may be cool, it is also probably incredibly expensive — something American rocket companies like SpaceX have made priority #1.
Underneath the daily headlines of Elon Musk launching cars into space, there is a real chance that we’re about to see some very BIG things happen with space exploration, as an entire space economy develops over the next decade.
As part of this research, we stumbled across one publicly traded company, with roots that date back to the early days of America’s space program, that may beat Elon Musk and Russia to the punch.
In fact, this company is already racking up over $1 billion in orders from NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense for America’s own next generation of rocket propulsion technology.
For more on this company and the emerging “Space Race 2.0,” click here.
As for Russia, we’re glad they’re throwing their hats into the ring once again. If anything, the additional competition will push both our