Science

What Did SpaceX Founder and CEO Elon Musk Mean By "The Trampoline Is Working"?

By Jared N. , Jun 01, 2020 10:45 PM EDT

When Elon Musk said that the trampoline was working, it confused many people. Most people thought he was spouting nonsense, but there's a story behind what he said.

The founder and CEO of SpaceX Elon Musk, said, "The trampoline is working!". Musk said so shortly after the company's first crewed mission launched successfully. The mission was the Demo-2 test flight that was headed for the International Space Station.

What Is The Trampoline Elon Musk Is Talking About?

What Musk was referring to with his statement was a barb by Dimitry Rogozin from April 2014. Rogozin was the deputy prime minister of Russia at the time. But today, he is the chief of Roscosmos, the space agency of Russia.

Back then, the United States imposed sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine irritated Rogozin. Some of the sanctions imposed were targeting Russia's space industry, including individuals involved with it.

Rogozin made the argument that the sanctions would, in general, harm global space efforts and not solely NASA. The American space agency did rely on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft and rockets to send its astronauts to the International Space Station after they retired their space shuttles in 2011, after all.

Rogozin jokingly stated that he analyzed the United States' sanctions against his country's space industry, which led him to suggest that the USA should use a trampoline to send their astronauts to the International Space Station.

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What's Different About This Space Flight Mission?

Since 2010, NASA has been assisting private industry in filling in their shoes due to an issue with government funding. NASA awarded contracts worth billions of dollars to SpaceX and Boeing in September 2014.

These contracts were meant to help SpaceX and Boeing develop their spacecraft, the Crew Dragon, and the CST-100 Starliner. They were contracted to have six crewed missions to fly to the International Space Station and back to Earth.

The final obstacle that SpaceX needs to get through before they can start with the contracted flights as Demo-2. The test mission has succeeded so far, where Crew Dragon docked at the International Space Station on May 31. NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken successfully made it to the orbiting lab.

Rogozin took the success of Demo-2, and the trampoline comeback by Musk, in stride. He gave congratulations to Jim Bridenstine, NASA's chief, on Twitter. Rogozin wished NASA good luck for them to get their commercial crew missions started up.

Demo-2 is meant to last for up to four months. The duration is still being decided on by SpaceX and NASA. Officials at NASA have stated that if it all goes according to plan until the splashdown, then Crew-1, which is the first contracted human-crewed mission of SpaceX, can launch before this August is over.

On the other hand, Boeing isn't ready to launch any astronauts. Last December, Boeing's Starliner didn't succeed in meeting up with the International Space Station in an uncrewed test flight mission.

They will, however, retry the test mission before they proceed with a human-crewed flight mission.

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