A Russian official angered over new sanctions that the United States imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis is suggesting that American astronauts get to the International Space Station by using trampolines instead of rockets.
"The United States introduced sanctions against our space industry... We warned them, we will reply to statements with statements, to actions with actions," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who heads Russia's defense industry, said on Twitter, according to Reuters.
American astronauts depend on Russian rockets to get to the ISS, but after the U.S. imposed sanctions – which deny export licenses for high-tech items that could aid Russia’s military -- Rogozin offered up a different idea.
"I propose that the United States delivers its astronauts to the ISS with the help of a trampoline," he said.
But analysts told Reuters that Russia is unlikely to suspend its shuttle service to the ISS, as NASA provides essential financing for the effort, paying more than $60 million per person to get them into space.
Still, Russia is expected to be hit hard by the sanctions, and five upcoming commercial satellite launches -- contracted by foreign clients at a Russian space center -- could be at risk.
Earlier this month, NASA was also banned from contacting the Russian government.
"This is a very sensitive issue since our defense industry was completely unprepared for such developments," Sergei Oznobishchev, the director at the Institute for Strategic Assessments think tank in Moscow, told Reuters. "Both sides will suffer but Russia will lose out more in terms of technology transfer."
Analysts say Russia lags behind in production of high-tech electronic equipment, such as microchips for satellites, and is reliant on imports from Western nations.