Elon Musk Asked Russia’s Space Chief His Favorite Tea

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    It’s going to be a tea party of the space moguls – if it ever pans out that this. Russia’s space chief, Dmitry Rogozin, who has been following Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson’s recent jetting off into space (or the edge of space) with close attention has obviously picked a favorite: the one who hasn’t been to space yet. Elon Musk, Tesla CEO and SpaceX boss is known on Twitter for a variety of things, including pushing cryptocurrency Dogecoin and posting stolen memes, also has a knack for replying to random tweets. Musk has always been ‘different’ from the rest of the crowd, earned praises from Rogozin, who in an interview with CNN, said “Mr. Elon Musk realizes many of the ideas and thoughts that we wanted to realize, but did not get to because, after the breakup of the Soviet Union, our space program halted for some time.” Rogozin also added that “We respect him as an organizer of the space industry and as an inventor, who is not afraid to take risk.”

    It wasn’t just praise. In the CNN interview, Rogozin went on to even invite Musk to his home in Russia “to be a guest of my family” and discuss “exploring the universe, extraterrestrial life, and how we can use space to preserve life on Earth.” He even added “I already set the teakettle on heat.”

    Musk, always a sport when it comes to this, replied to Rogozin, who shared this interview on Twitter. Musk thanked the chief for his invitation, and asked for his favorite tea flavor.

    “Thanks! What is your favorite tea?” wrote Musk.

    Rogozin replied with “Let’s start with my grandmother’s favorite Indian tea.”

    Rogozin’s favorite tea has an Indian connection.

    A quick Google search throws up many online marketplaces selling the tea. The name of the brand loosely translates to ‘Three Friendly Elephants’. The flavor palette of the tea is described as “the aroma of bergamot has a beneficial effect on mood and mental activity, giving the tea a fresh, piquant note.” The country of origin is India. The name of the tea is probably a reference to the Soviet period, where tea-drinking was extremely popular in the daily life of office workers. Tea brands of the time were nicknamed “the brooms” (Georgian) and “the tea with an elephant” (Indian). Old reports also point to tea being an immutable element of kitchen life among the intelligentsia in 1960s-’70s.

    Other than the invite over tea, SpaceX and Russia’s space centre hasn’t had a very friendly relationship so far. Last December, Rogozin shared photos on Twitter of Roscosmos specialists, surrounded by snow, recovering a piece of a Soyuz rocket in Russia’s remote Yakutia region. “This is not Boca Chica. This is Yakutia in winter. I wonder if gentle SpaceX is able to work in such conditions?” Rogozin had captioned it, referring to the small border town in Texas where SpaceX is building the world’s Starship on its Starbase.

    Rogozin isn’t the only one critical of Boca Chica. Space X’s rocket testing facility has already been operational at Boca Chica Beach. It has been known that public beaches are frequently shut down during the tests and a little warning sign or notice is put up. Locals claim Musk’s company ushered out some residents using heavy-handed tactics or pressured them into selling their homes in order to make space for the facility. A report by The Dallas Morning News recently stated the history of company towns. In the past, it has been seen how a company, that owns the employees’ homes and surroundings, is able to grip on every part of their life. This often turns into exploitation.

    In March this year, Musk announced that he will donate $30 million to Brownsville in order to get the project started. Of the total amount, $20 million will be given to county schools and $10 million will be used for the revitalisation of Brownsville.

    Musk earlier claimed that Starbase will have thousands of residents in a few years. He is also planning to hire engineers, technicians and other employees for some specialised roles.

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