Moscow space officials said on Sunday they were confused by the "hysteria" surrounding the successful SpaceX flight when Elon Musk mocked Russia and promised US President Donald Trump to take him to Mars.
On Saturday, SpaceX made history by being the world's first commercial company to send people into orbit and Russia losing its longstanding monopoly on space.
Musk threw a blow to Dmitry Rogozin, the Russian space chief, who once said that Washington could one day be forced to "take his astronauts to the ISS with a trampoline".
"The trampoline works," Musk quipped at a post-flight press conference with NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine.
Both men laughed. "It's an inside joke," added Musk.
Rogozin was silent for most of Sunday, but congratulated Bridenstine after the Crew Dragon capsule with two NASA astronauts docked on the ISS.
"It is certain to congratulate you on a successful start and docking at this point. Bravo!" he tweeted.
"Please send my sincere greetings to @elonmusk (I loved his joke) and the @ SpaceX team. We look forward to working with you again!"
In 2014, then Deputy Prime Minister Rogozin mocked the lack of a manned U.S. flight program after Washington announced new sanctions against Moscow, which included some space industries.
While Russia greeted the United States, it also stressed Sunday that it was confused by the frenzy triggered by what many saw as the beginning of a new era.
"We don't really understand the hysteria triggered by the successful launch of a Crew Dragon spacecraft," said Roscosmos spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko.
"What should have happened a long time ago has happened," he added, tweeting extracts from Trump's congratulatory speech.
New missile tests
Trump spoke after the flawless launch of SpaceX at the legendary Kennedy Space Center in Florida and vowed that US astronauts would return to the moon in 2024 "to build a permanent presence and launch pad on Mars".
"And the first woman on the moon will be an American, and the first nation to land on Mars will be the United States," he said.
"We won't be number two anywhere."
The Russian space agency returned and said it also had no intention of sitting idle.
"We will be testing two new rockets this year and will resume our lunar program next year," tweeted Ustimenko.
He didn't go into more detail about it, but Rogozin said earlier that the country had planned to start a new test launch of the Angara heavy launcher this fall.
Rogozin also said Russia is pushing ahead with the development of its new Sarmat ICBM, also known as Satan 2 by NATO classification.
In 2018, President Vladimir Putin boasted that the Sarmat was one of the new Russian weapons that could make NATO defense unnecessary.
Russia had the monopoly for years as the only country that could carry astronauts, and Saturday's launch meant the loss of substantial income. A seat in Soyuz costs NASA around $ 80 million.
Roscosmos insisted that the United States still needed Moscow.
"It is very important to have at least two ways to get to the train station. Because you never know …" said Ustimenko.
Some officials in Moscow tried to downplay US performance.
"This is a flight to the International Space Station, not to Mars," said Alexey Pushkov, a member of the upper house of parliament.
The Russian space program launched the first man into space in 1961 and launched the first satellite four years earlier.
But since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, it has been hit by corruption scandals and a number of other setbacks, with expensive spacecraft and satellites having been lost in recent years.
The U.S. launch and Musk's joke set fire to Russian social media, ridiculing Rogozin and the name of the Russian space chief on Twitter.
"How do you like it, Dmitry Rogozin?" a critic nudged.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)