Arsenal editor on the prospects of a Ukrainian communication satellite: No money, no factory, no cosmodrome


November 17, 2017 – Fort Russ News –

–, translated by Tom Winter –

Kiev. Ukraine cannot implement the satellite launch project by itself, and attracting Western partners will cost a very large amount of money, says Alexei Leonkov, military expert and commercial director of Arsenal of the Fatherland. …

The first Ukrainian satellite is supposed to be launched by Ukraine in 2018. This was stated by the head of the State Space Agency Pavel Degtyarenko.

According to the official, the implementation of the project of the national satellite communication system with the geostationary telecommunication satellite Lybid was slowed down for many years (the launch was planned back in 2012), but now the agency has received government support in terms of funding.

“We expect that the planned steps will allow us to fulfill the entire series of works necessary for Ukraine to finally get its own communication satellite in orbit in the second half of 2018,” Degtyarenko said.

The situation with this satellite is connected with the crisis at the South Machine Plant, the head of the agency noted. [For the problems with YuzhMash, see South-Machine: Factory or shopping mall?]

“There is an indirect connection. Now YMZ really is in a difficult situation, and is demanding immediate anti-crisis measures, certainly state support. Therefore, the main issue that requires urgent action from the State Space Agency is the stabilization of the activities of the South Machine Plant,” said Pavel Degtyarenko.

The Question of price

“The first question arises – Is the cosmodrome going to be in Kiev? The second question is, did Ukraine ever create its own satellites? All production of satellites – meteorological, communication satellites – was in Russia. Has Ukraine established its own satellite since 1991? No, it hasn’t,” said Alexei Leonkov.

There was a joint project with Russia, the carrier rocket of the “Dnepr” satellites, which took small spacecraft into space. The Russian company Kosmotrans was doing the launching, Yuzhmash acted on the Ukrainian side. At the same time the launches were carried out from Baikonur, that is, not from the Ukrainian territory.

Of course, we can assume that in the absence of ties with Russia, Ukraine will try to implement the satellite project with someone from the Western partners. But it costs a lot of money, the average launch price is from 70 to 90 million dollars. …

Everything for sale

It is not possible for Ukraine to undertake this kind of project independently, says Leonkov.

“At present, the industry of the country tends to zero.” On the collapse of the USSR, Ukraine inherited one of the strongest economies of Eastern Europe, a developed industry that could have developed if it were in the right hands. But Ukraine went the other way – it started selling everything,” says expert.

According to Leonkov, to create a full-sized missile requires not only an engine – there is need of technology for metal, rocket fuel, and with this in Ukraine, there are big problems, since the components of rocket fuel are not manufactured in the country.

“All these statements must be considered in the political arena, no more than that Ukraine has repeatedly declared the development of the space program, but it did not get beyond that,” the expert concluded, expressing confidence that even if money is budgeted for the satellite project, in any case it will disappear.

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