SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is not shy about sharing his thoughts on life in outer space or space travel, and now he has someone who is ready to hear more and over tea: Russian space chief Dmitriy Rogozin.

On Tuesday, Rogozin, the head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, gave his first interview with a Western news outlet. Speaking to CNN, Rogozin marveled at the recent flights to outer space by billionaires Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson. He said it was his hope that Russian millionaires, who he described as having more interest in “yachts” than “spaceships,” will one day follow and invest more in outer space travel.

Branson was the first of the two to undergo a space flight as a passenger onboard Virgin Galactic Unity 22 on July 11. Nine days later, Bezos’ Blue Origin NS-16 took off from a West Texas launch site and remained at a suborbital level for about 10 minutes.

For all his praise of Bezos and Branson, Rogozin saved his highest regard for Musk for achieving a dream his country was delayed from claiming.

"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 said on CNN. "We respect him as an organizer of the space industry and as an inventor, who is not afraid to take risk."

The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour as it approached the International Space Station after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 24, 2021 The SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour as it approached the International Space Station after launching from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on April 24, 2021 Photo: NASA / Handout

Rogozin took a moment to invite Musk to visit him in Russia and “be a guest” of my family. That way, he hoped to discuss further "exploring the universe, extraterrestrial life, and how we can use space to preserve life on Earth."

This is not the first time an international official has passed an invitation on to Musk. Last August, Musk tweeted "Aliens built the pyramids obv," earning him hundreds of thousands of likes as well as attention from Egypt where the great pyramids stand. Rania A. Al Mashat, Egypt's minister of international cooperation, tweeted after Musk made his remark that she follows his work "with a lot of admiration" and that her country has its door open for him to visit.

"Mr. Musk, we are waiting for you," she said.

Rogozin's invitation, however, does carry a few complications. Since 2014, Rogozin has been under U.S. sanctions from his tenure as Russia’s deputy defense minister as a consequence of annexing the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine. This complicated cooperation on outer space, especially given the U.S.’ reliance on Russia for facilities and rockets to launch astronauts into orbit. Musk praised the Russians for their rocket engineering and technology.

Musk and Rogozin also have something of a personal rivalry that has been on full display on Twitter. After coming under U.S. sanctions, Rogozin said that it would need a “trampoline” to get its astronauts into space as a result. Five years later, Musk, whose SpaceX company has worked together with NASA on developing new rockets, remarked at a conference that “the trampoline works.

Last December, Rogozin teased SpaceX by posting a photo of a launch site from the Siberian province of Yakutia. He captioned the photo in Russian with questioning on whether or not SpaceX engineers could work like Roscosmos under sub-zero temperatures.

Asked about these online spats, CNN’s Kristin Fisher said Rogozin considered them “playful, normal, healthy competition between engineers.”

Roscosmos Launch Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on May 22, 2020. Photo: Roscosmos