In May, the book by the famous journalist Ashley Vance was released, "Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Road to the Future" (the book was published in Russian by the "Olymp Business" publishing house). The preamble says that Vance spent more than 50 hours talking to Musk himself, and interviewed about 300 of his colleagues and partners. One of the turning points in the story is Musk's visit with two partners to Russia in February 2002.
If you believe the above, Musk came to Russia to buy several ballistic missiles. And on this occasion, he negotiated with the Kosmotras company, which operates the RS-20 missile systems (Satan according to NATO classification) for launching payloads into orbit. The book says that it was the unsuccessful negotiations at Kosmotras that prompted Musk to create his own rocket and the company for its development and production - SpaceX.
The negotiation process described in the publication fits well with the clichés about Russia widespread in the States: vodka is poured, toasts are sounded, business issues are resolved along the way, while Russians want to siphon more money from foreigners.
This is how Jim Cantrell, who visited Moscow with Musk, describes a visit to Kosmotras in the book: “The most intense meeting took place in an ornate but dilapidated pre-revolutionary building near the center of Moscow. Vodka poured, toasts sounded - “For space! For America! " - and Musk sat on 20 million and hoped that they would be enough for three ICBMs that could be converted for space flight. Flushed with vodka, Musk asked bluntly how much a ballistic missile would cost. The answer was: "Eight million each." Musk responded with an offer: "Eight for two." For a while they sat and looked at him, and then they said something like: "Young man, no." In addition, they hinted that he did not have that kind of money. "
By this time, Musk decided that the Russians were either not going to do business with him, or they just wanted to draw out as much as possible from the millionaire who had become rich on dot-coms, Vance added, apparently from the words of Musk himself.
The founder and president of the Kosmotras company, Vladimir Andreev, admits that he was surprised to read excerpts from Musk's biography.
- The book contains stupidity, - says Andreev. - Guests from abroad appeared in our office on a regular basis, many of them asked if it was possible to buy the rocket itself for launching abroad? I answered all of them categorically: it is impossible. Nobody will ever take this missile to any country. Is that in Kazakhstan to Baikonur. The cost of launch services has always been a subject of controversy and discussion in the marketing plane.
According to Andreev, he remembered Musk well: the young man said that he had made a lot of money on the Internet and wanted and was thinking of investing in the space business. The negotiations, according to Andreev, were quite official.