Scott Kelly Calls Russia Space Chief 'Stain' on History After Nuke Threat

Former NASA astronaut and International Space Station (ISS) commander Scott Kelly called the head of Russia's space agency "a shameful stain" on the legacy of the Russian space program after he posted an aggressive warning to the West.

Over the weekend, Dmitry Rogozin, director-general of Roscosmos, posted a video on Twitter of himself climbing down into a large crater reportedly left behind after a test of Russia's new nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), Sarmat.

The crater was apparently caused by a "blank" test missile that didn't carry a nuclear warhead.

"With a nuclear charge, such a [crater] at the site of an object of the enemy will be, well, very much big and very deep and radioactive," he tweeted, translated from Russian.

"And not just one, but exactly as many as the most powerful nuclear missile in the world will deliver to the territory of a fierce enemy. And we will soon have almost 50 such 'Sarmatians' on combat duty.

"I advise the aggressors to talk to us more politely."

Sharing Rogozin's crater-based threat on Twitter, Kelly wrote, also translated from Russian: "Dmitry Rogozin is a shameful stain on the legacy of Yuri Gagarin and the heroes-cosmonauts of the Russian space program."

Yuri Gagarin was a pilot and cosmonaut of the former Soviet Union who became the first human to journey into outer space in 1961.

Rogozin's thinly vieled nuclear threat came after he told Russia's Rossiya-24 television channel that Sarmat ICBM systems would be put on combat duty by autumn this year following more test launches, Russia's state-owned TASS news agency reported on May 21.

Rogozin is known for making inflammatory and provocative statements on his Twitter account in support of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. For example, he has previously warned that Russia may pull out of the ISS, which he said could cause it to fall out of orbit due to the lack of maintenance.

Earlier this month, he sent what appeared to be a threat to Elon Musk, the boss of SpaceX, the company that has been supplying its Starlink satellite internet terminals to Ukraine to help keep the country connected. Rogozin said Musk would "be held accountable like an adult" for this.

It's also not the first time that Kelly has fired barbs at Rogozin. The two have publicly sparred on Twitter in the past, with Kelly once advising Rogozin to "find a job at McDonalds" after suggesting that Russia's space agency would run out of money due to political isolation.

Rogozin, in turn, has referred to Kelly as a "moron."

Scott Kelly (L) and Dmitry Rogozin
Scott Kelly, left, pictured speaking to the media after returning from an International Space Station (ISS) mission in Houston, Texas, in March, 2026, and Dmitry Rogozin (R), pictured at a space industry meeting in Sochi, Russia, in May, 2017. The two men have argued on Twitter this year due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Getty/Eric Kayne/Mikhail Svetlov