Ukraine has preliminarily selected the American company SpaceX of Elon Musk to launch the Sich 2-30 (2-1) remote sensing satellite in December this year and is currently in technical negotiations with it, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Strategic Industries of Ukraine Oleh Urusky has said.
“We really have a window to launch the device in December with the help of a foreign operator – in this case SpaceX, with which we are now cooperating in terms of the compatibility of the device with launch vehicles,” the deputy prime minister said in an interview on Pershy Dilovy TV channel.
According to him, the corresponding decision was made by the president.
Urusky clarified that work with SpaceX is going on intensively and in the near future it will be clear whether it is fundamentally possible to combine the Ukrainian satellite with a SpaceX launch vehicle.
The official noted that today the satellite is practically ready.
“It requires final analysis and operational checks of technical readiness for launch,” he explained.
Urusky added that he personally visited Pivdenmash in Dnipro, where he checked the real state of the spacecraft.
He recalled that the last time Ukraine launched a remote sensing satellite was 10 years ago, so the launch of the new satellite will be an outstanding event.
As reported, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky earlier this year, commenting on Musk’s statement about communication with the family of Serhiy Korolyov, invited the American businessman and founder of the space company SpaceX to visit the Korolyov Museum of Cosmonautics in Zhytomyr.
The U.S. rocket and space technology developer Firefly Aerospace Inc., owned by Ukrainian businessman Maksym Polyakov plans to raise $350 million to scale up production and work on a medium-class launch vehicle – Firefly Beta.
Firefly Aerospace CEO Tom Markusic spoke about these plans during the IPO Edge webinar, the company’s press service said on Thursday.
“In the next five years we want to take Firefly from a $1 billion with Alpha to being on the order of a $10 billion company with a set of different launch vehicles,” Markusic said.
The company said $125 million of the funding would go toward production enhancements, such as facilities and tooling needed to ramp up launch vehicle production. The other $225 million would support growth initiatives, in particular a medium-class vehicle capable of placing 10 tonnes into orbit, about ten times more than the capacity of Alpha.
“Our development phase was $200 million, and that was funded by Maksym Polyakov and Noosphere Venture Partners […] Now we are considering expanding the list of investors in order to raise an additional $350 million, without impeding our ability or fundamentally changing our culture as a nimble, fast-moving space development company,” Markusic said.
He also confirmed plans for Alpha’s inaugural launch soon.
As reported, Firefly Aerospace has already performed checkouts of the Alpha launch vehicle.
As reported, Firefly Aerospace Inc. signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with equipment and avionics company Adaptive Launch Solutions (ALS), which includes four launches of the Alpha rocket starting in 2021.
Ukraine’s Space Electric Thruster Systems (SETS) will provide its SPS-25 propulsion system for the inaugural launch of the Alpha rocket made by a rocket and space technology developer Firefly Aerospace Inc.
Firefly Aerospace Inc., a U.S. rocket and space technology company owned by Ukrainian businessman Max Polyakov, has successfully performed pre-flight tests of its first Alpha rocket.
The four Reaver engines performed 35 seconds of thrust vector control maneuvers, challenging the flame deflectors to constrain all that Reaver power, the company’s press service said.
Firefly Aerospace Inc. said that this test was a major step in Firefly’s march to its first flight.
The launch of the rocket will be not only a big milestone for the company, but for the entire Noosphere, Polyakov said. He said that the company is building a large space vertical, which includes many companies, and it will soon be ready to provide the full range of services in the space industry – from launching payloads and manufacturing satellites, to control systems and data analysis.
In his opinion, the launch of this rocket will be an important event for Ukraine.
It will show, first of all, to the young generation that Ukraine is capable of producing an intellectual product, that space is not a dream, but a reality, he said. Polyakov said that he has invested a lot of efforts and funds in the development of science in Ukraine, and the company has already launched seven engineering schools and is planning to develop this sphere. He expressed the hope that the launch of Alpha rocket will motivate students.
The volume of state financing of the rocket and space industry of Ukraine in 2019 should amount to UAH 2.13 billion, which is 14% less compared to 2018. These parameters are stipulated in the country’s main financial law for 2019, which has been posted on the Verkhovna Rada’s website. State financing for the space industry from the general fund of the national budget of 2019 will amount to UAH 2.12 billion (99.5% of the budget).
In the total amount of funding for the industry through the general fund, UAH 1.47 billion (69% of the industry budget) should be used for servicing debt obligations on the loan raised under state guarantees for the implementation of the project “Creating the National Satellite Communications System.” In 2018, some UAH 1.55 billion (62.5%) was foreseen for this purpose.
Some UAH 78.5 million is foreseen for carrying out work on state targeted programs and government orders in the space industry in 2019, which is 9.8% less than in 2018, while UAH 344.8 million will be spent on management and testing space vehicles, or 14% less compared to 2018.
The launch of the Antares carrier rocket, created by the American Orbital ATK Corporation with the participation of Ukrainian enterprises, has been carried out from the NASA Wallops Flight Facility in the United States, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. Valeriy Chaly has said. The Antares rocket is a successful example of interaction between the Ukrainian and U.S. space companies in the field of peaceful space exploration, the ambassador said on his Facebook page.
“Thus, the main construction of the first degree rocket was developed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and manufactured at the Makarov Southern Machine-Building Plant in cooperation with the Ukrainian enterprises Khartron-Arkos, Khartron-UKOM, Rapid, etc. Ukrainian specialists took an active part in the tests of Antares, which were conducted in the United States,” Chaly said.
“It is this rocket that should deliver the Cygnus automated cargo spacecraft to the International Space Station,” he added.
The ambassador recalled that in June 2018, the American company Orbital ATK, Ukraine’s partner in this project, became a division of one of the most powerful defensive corporations in the United States — Northrop Grumman Inc.