Ukraine Looks to Commercial Partnerships to Boost Space Program

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket

The National Space Agency of Ukraine is looking to foster the “development of public-private partnership [and the] deepening the commercialization of space activities and international cooperation” as part of a series of changes to the nation’s space policy.

“For the first time to finance the program is envisaged to raise funds from other sources in amounts that make up about a third of the necessary funding and the development and implementation of public-private partnership,” according to a press released posted on the space agency’s website.

The changes are part of a set of proposed projects and goals for the 2013-2017 time period.  According to the press release

The draft program on the following approaches:

  • Transfer of space technologies in the real sector of the state;
  • Expansion of space research and the intensification of a promising rocket and space technology;
  • Development of public-private partnership, deepening the commercialization of space activities and international cooperation.

In particular, the draft program is supposed to:

  • Creating a group of spacecraft “Sich” in the three spacecraft, performing the initial stages of work on the development of advanced spacecraft from the Synthetic Aperture Radar antenna and scanner optical range of high spatial resolution (less than 1 m). Results provided to ensure launch two remote-sensing spacecraft.
  • Cluster spacecraft launch scientific “Mikrosat” and the youth of the spacecraft, “UMC”. Creation of a spacecraft “Mikrosat” will greatly intensify scientific space research. The implementation of scientific and educational program will attract young creative teams to space, will enhance the creativity of youth to master the scientific and technical professions.

In addition, the draft Programme of attention paid to creating systems of O (start-up carrier rocket “Cyclone-4”, performing R & D to develop advanced output systems, the promotion of commercial operation of the output).

[Editor’s Note: The Cyclone-4 is a joint program with Brazil. The rocket, based on the Soviet-era Cyclone-3, will fly from the Brazil’s Alcantara spaceport.]

In contrast, from the current space program is supposed resumption of the task “to ensure that industrial and technological development”, which aims to support the operation of unique objects of space and a unique scientific and experimental base.

For the first time to finance the program is envisaged to raise funds from other sources in amounts that make up about a third of the necessary funding and the development and implementation of public-private partnership,

Another proposal, mentioned in a separate press statement, would change the name of the “National Space Agency of Ukraine” to the “Central Executive Agency for Space Activities.”

Ukraine already has extensive commercial operations centered on the rocket sector it inherited when the Soviet Union broke up 20 years ago. In addition to working with Brazil on the Cyclone-4 project,Ukraine builds Zenit boosters that launch commercial satellites for the Sea Launch and Land Launch companies. Ukraine also launches Dnepr rockets, which are converted Soviet ICBMs, from spaceports in Russia and Kazakhstan.

Ukraine is providing the first-stage tanks and structure for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s new Taurus II rocket, which is set to debut next year. That work is being done by the Yuzhnoye company.

Yuzhnoye is also attempting to develop the Mayak family of rockets, which features light, medium and heavy-lift versions capable of lifting 8 tons, 20 tons, and 42 tons to low Earth orbit, respectively. The boosters would be based upon the Cyclone and Zenit rockets and would be human-rated to carry astronauts.

Yuzhoye is reported to be partnered to provide launch services to Excalibur-Almaz, which is working to modify Soviet-era capsule and space station technology for commercial operations in Earth orbit. Excalibur Almaz is a competitor in NASA’s Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program and has signed an unfunded Space Act Agreement with the American space agency to advance work on the project.

A delegation of Yuzhnoye executives visited Florida in May to explore basing Mayak rockets at Cape Canaveral. Officials also explored manufacturing and assembling the rockets in the Sunshine State.

  • Dave Huntsman

    This is impressively forward-looking.