Moscow Defense Brief

Current Issue

#2 (40), 2014


SEARCH : Search

Market of Aerospace Services

Ukraine’s Space Program


The Ukrainian rocket and space industry

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 Ukraine inherited an impressive slice of the So­viet rocket and space industry. Most of its de­signing and manufacturing capacities are concen­trated in three cities: Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv and Kiev.

Dnipropetrovsk is the hometown of M. Yangel Yuzhnoye State Design Office (Yuzhnoye Design Office) and M. Makarov Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant Production Association (Yuzhmash). Back in Soviet times the two con­stituted a major rocket and spacecraft designing and manufacturing center. They developed many Soviet ballistic missiles, launch vehicles and spacecraft. Today the two form the backbone of the Ukrainian space sector. They alone turn out end products: launch vehicles (LV) and space­craft (the production of intercontinental ballistic missiles was stopped in the early 1990s when Ukraine declared itself a nuclear-free country). 

Since their foundation Yuzhnoye Design Office and Yuzhmash have jointly developed several generations of missiles and space systems, among them the SS-4, SS-5, SS-9, SS-17 and SS-18 mis­sile systems, the railway-based SS-24 missile and others that formed the core of the Soviet Strate­gic Rocket Force. In Soviet times Yuzhnoye De­sign Office and Yuzhmash were comparable in the number of designs and production volumes only with Scientific and Production Association for Machine-Building in Reutov and the Khrun­ichev Machine-Building Plant in Moscow (now belonging to the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center).

The LV of the Kosmos type was developed on the basis of the SS-4 missile and in 1962 took to orbit the first satellite designed at Yuzhnoye De­sign Office  - DS-2 (DS - Dnipropetrovsk satel­lite, the official name Kosmos-1). By now some 400 spacecraft of 70 types developed in Dni­propetrovsk have been placed in terrestrial orbits. The families of Cyclone, Zenit and Dnipro launch vehicles, spacecraft of the Okean and In­tercosmos families, a long series of military satel­lites under the common name of Kosmos, auto­matic multi-purpose space platforms for scientific satellites with earth (AUOS-Z) and sun orienta­tion (AUOS-SM) also originate from there. It is curious that Yuzhmash still manufactures Tselina-2 radio reconnaissance satellites for the Russian Defense Ministry launched with the Dnipropetrovsk-made Zenit-2 LV from Baikonur space center. This is probably the only case in world defense practices that a spy satellite and its launch vehicle are manufactured in a foreign country.

The fact that Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma was the general director of Yuzhmash in 1986 through 1992 and before that worked for Yuzhnoye Design Office reaching the post of first deputy chief designer is a source for great moral and probably material support for the two facili­ties.

Dnipropetrovsk is also the home of Orbita Re­search and Production Enterprise (the developer of computer hardware and software systems for mission control centers), the Pavlograd Mechani­cal Plant (a producer of solid fuel engines and their components located in Dnipropetrovsk re­gion) and several other companies and research centers.

Kharkiv known primarily for the production of Antonov and Tupolev aircraft also has several major industrial facilities supplying Ukrainian and Russian space industries with their output. This applies primarily to Khartron Joint Stock Company that was set up in 1959 as a research and production amalgamation for designing and manufacturing missile and spacecraft guidance and control systems. In the past it made elec­tronic parts for digital guidance systems of most Soviet intercontinental ballistic missiles. Now it produces similar control systems for Ukrainian and Russian LV and the Zarya module of the In­ternational Space Station (ISS) as well as soft­ware for them.

Kharkiv is also the hometown of Kommunar Production Association. Since 1952 it has spe­cialized in the production of LV control systems. Its main customers are Yuzhmash (control sys­tems for Zenit LV), the Khrunichev Space Cen­ter in Moscow (for Proton-K LV) and the Prog­ress Design Office in Samara (for Soyuz LV). The same facility designs and manufactures con­trol equipment for a number of spacecraft.

Besides, the city is the site of the Kharkiv Elec­trical Equipment Plant (the production of con­trol and power supply equipment, telemetry, automatic guidance equipment), the Radio Measurement Research Institute (the develop­ment and production of measuring, control and informational systems), the State Research and Engineering Center for Space Technology Certi­fication and several research centers.

The Ukrainian capital Kiev houses the headquar­ters of the National Space Agency of Ukraine (NSAU), as well as Kyivprylad Production Asso­ciation (Kievpribor) that manufactures telemetry systems for a great number of various satellites and space vehicles: Meteor-2 and Meteor-3 weather satellites, Intercosmos satellites, control instruments for Gorizont satellites, Soyuz and Progress spaceships, modules of Mir and ISS sta­tions.

Kiev is the hometown of the Kyiv Radio Plant (the production of on-board radio equipment for space-related missions), Kurs Research and Pro­duction Complex (the development of compo­nents for the ground control infrastructure and spacecraft, the development and production of electronic devices, control and data processing systems) and other facilities. Among scientific in­stitutions one should single out Pryroda State Research and Production Center that processes, disseminates and stores remote sensing data, Ra­diant State Company, the International Space Law Center, the NSAU-Space Research Institute.

There is also one more important facility for the Ukrainian space program: the National Space Fa­cilities Control and Testing Center in Yevpato­ria, Crimea. It consists of the former Center for Remote Space Communication and the near-by control and measuring post of the USSR Defense Ministry. The facilities are used to control the Ukrainian Sich-1 satellite and several Russian scientific satellites.

The abovementioned list of Ukrainian design and production facilities related to space and their core businesses makes it evident that Ukraine has a fairly big potential in the sphere. But abso­lutely all companies manufacturing LV, space­craft or their components closely cooperate with Russian counterparts that act both as contractors and clients for their Ukrainian partners. So far Ukraine has failed in its attempts to conduct ab­solutely independent space programs, however, not so much over the lack of funding but because it has been unable to rapidly launch the produc­tion of components to replace Russian ones.

Space Agency

Ukraine’s official space policy is determined by the National Space Agency affiliated to Ukrain­ian cabinet. It was set up on February 29, 1992 under a presidential decree given the need to pre­serve and further develop the scientific, techno­logical and production potential of the space sec­tor and use it to fulfil social and economic tasks in the interests of independent Ukraine.

The July 22, 1997 presidential decree «On the Statute of the National Space Agency of Ukraine» that was supplemented by decrees of September 15, 1998 and May 29, 1999 define the agency as a special authorized central executive body that should guarantee the implementation of the state space policy, supervise the operation of the sector and bear responsibility for its state.

In 1999 the status of the agency was changed and over 20 companies and institutions, including Yuzhnoye Design Office and Yuzhmash were subordinated to it. A year earlier the Russian space sector was subordinated to the Russian Space Agency (currently Rosaviakosmos). This completed the formation of the space industry as a separate sector of the Ukrainian economy.

The main tasks of NSAU are:

  • to develop the fundamentals of the gov­ernment policy of space exploration and use for peaceful purposes and in the interests of na­tional security,

  • to guarantee the organization and advance­ment of space-related operations in Ukraine and under the jurisdiction of Ukraine beyond its boundaries,

  • to promote the strengthening of Ukraine’s defense capability and national security with the help of space aids,

  • to organize and advance Ukraine’s coopera­tion with other countries and intentional or­ganizations in space.

It must be said that though in 1992 NSAU was set up as a Ukrainian replica of NASA today it is in fact nothing but a replica of the USSR Minis­try of General Machine-Building. All the coun­try’s state-run rocket and space companies (and they constitute the majority) are subordinate to it. NSAU appoints their top executives, defines their budgets and core businesses, distributes state contracts and participates in their commer­cial projects as a partner. The agency leadership claims such Soviet-style management of the sec­tor by administrative methods has allowed saving key enterprises from privatization and squander­ing.

NSAU has developed and is pushing through the government and parliament a draft National Space Program for 2002-2006. On June 22, 2001, an expanded session of the NSAU scientific and technical council supported the program. Partici­pants in the session noted that the program has its own face largely differing from previous pro­grams. The biggest difference is that the develop­ers (and the program is the result of collective efforts of many experts from the space sector and Ukrainian scientists) overcame of great power megalomania and tried to take into account in­ternational tendencies in space operations, the needs and interests of Ukraine, the sector and the individual. The proposals and wishes of potential partners and clients were also taken into account in the sections of the program. The existence of actual customers, the strengthening of the export potential and participation in international coop­eration were the main considerations developers took into account when they considered the proj­ects constituting the document.

The development of national space systems is an­other priority. This implies the upgrading of ex­isting LV and spacecraft as well as the develop­ment of new promising models involving break­through technologies and with an eye on demand on the world market of space services. This ap­plies to Cyclone LV and the new project under the working name Mayak. Experts at Yuzhnoye Design Office believe the latter may become a new starting point that may bring a Ukrainian LV of the light and medium class to the market of launch services.

In the sphere of telecommunication and naviga­tion satellite networks great hopes are attached to the participation of Ukrainian resources and means in international space projects.

Given the economic situation in Ukraine the council session noted that the greatest problem was financial support for the new space program. Its implementation implies the assignment of no less than 0.2% of the annual GDP.

Ukrainian launch vehicles


Launch services are the main and most profitable sphere of Ukraine’s commercial space operations. Ukraine has a fleet of quite reliable LV of vary­ing payload carrying capacities. In Soviet times when up to 100 launches were conducted annu­ally, most of the launch vehicles came from the conveyer-belt. However, now that the number of launches has shrunk to two or three dozen a year many of which are not ordered by the govern­ment, launch vehicles are made only on order.

In order to enter the international market Ukraine’s only LV producer followed the Russian example and tried to set up joint ventures with foreign companies for marketing purposes. Zenit-3SL has become the LV bringing the greatest profits to the Ukrainian space sector, even though 70% of its components (including engines and the DM-SL booster) are made in Russia.

The LV could be called a byproduct of the Ener­gia-Buran program. For the purpose the mounted unit of Energia LV was equipped with the second stage. The vehicle using kerosene and liquid oxy­gen as propellant on both stages could place a payload of 13.7 tons into a low orbit. Yuzhnoye Design Office developed the Zenit-2 project and Yuzhmash organized the LV production. Two launch pads were built at Baikonur space center for Zenit-2 launches.

Military intelligence satellites and civilian satel­lites for monitoring natural resources were the first payloads of Zenit-2. Gradually Ukraine started offering Zenit-2 for commercial launches. The first ones who ventured to couple their satel­lites with the Ukrainian carrier were numerous owners of minisatellites. The small probes could be launched as additional payloads. Thus in July 1998 Zenit-2 placed in orbit the Russian Resurs-01 remote sensing satellite and together with it five minisatellites weighing between 20 and 70 kilos for Australia, Germany, Israel, Thailand and Chile. The total sum of the contract for launching the cluster was $720,000.

Its Ukrainian «citizenship» has hindered broader application of Zenit-2 in the Russian space pro­gram. However, Yuzhnoye Design Office found a comparatively successful way out. Together with Boeing Commercial Space Company (USA), Kvaerner Maritime A.S. (Norway) and Energia Rocket and Space Company (Russia) on May 4, 1995, it set up the Sea Launch joint venture for commercial launches of the modified Zenit-3SL from a sea platform in the Pacific. The first test launch took place on March 14, 1999. The same day it was announced that Sea Launch signed contracts worth $1.25 billion for launching at least 18 satellites in five years from the floating cosmodrome. So far seven launches of Zenit-3SL have been made, one of which was demonstra­tional with a full-scale mock-up as a payload and one more a failure (On March 12, 2000, Zenit failed to place the ICO-1 spacecraft in orbit due to software failure).

However, lately the main financier of the project - Boeing - has been losing interest. Together with McDonnell Douglas it obtained a series of Delta-2 and Delta-3 LV. Besides, it is now developing a fundamentally new series of modular LV Delta-4 that are assembled of standard blocks and de­pending on their number belong to the light, me­dium or heavy payload class. Given these plans Boeing regards the Sea Launch program sooner as an experiment for developing new technologies than a commercial undertaking capable of bring­ing significant profits.

During its 15 years of operation Zenit has not performed perfectly: nine out of 38 launches have been unsuccessful. Thus, 12 satellites for the low orbit communication system Globalstar were not placed in orbit as a result of the September 9, 1998 Zenit-2 accident. Some $30 million had been paid for the launch. The accident badly damaged the reputation of the Ukrainian LV. The abovenamed accident on March 12, 2000, also had a negative impact on the image of the LV.

Parties to the Sea Launch project are now con­sidering the possibility of launching Zenit-3SL LV from the Zenit-2 launch pad at Baikonur space center (Ground Launch project). In this case Zenit-3SL could be used for commercial launches to medium latitude orbits, for instance, for launching commercial modules to ISS.


In the first half of the 1990s Ukraine tried to of­fer its Cyclone medium class LV on the interna­tional market of space launches. The family as well as many other Ukrainian and Russian LV was developed on the basis of a ballistic missile. Such a reasonable form of conversion was adopted in the USSR as early as the 1950s and 1960s. The R-36 (SS-9) missile was converted into a space carrier at the Yuzhnoye Design Of­fice and its production was organized at Yuzhmash. The two-stage version was named Cy­clone-2 and its first launch took place on August 6, 1969. All its launches were conducted from Baikonur space center. Cyclone-2 was used only for launching military satellites. However, in December 1995 a 131 kilo Konus-A scientific sat­ellite for studying bursts of gamma radiation was attached to a military satellite. The practice of installing by-equipment to Cyclone-2 may have continued but the serial production of the LV in Dnipropetrovsk was actually stopped. After the military unit that launched Cyclone-2 from Baikonur had used up the entire arsenal of the Defense Ministry, it was disbanded in October 1998.

The story of the three-stage Cyclone-3 is largely the same. It was launched only from Plesetsk space center, for the first time on June 24, 1977. It had a broader commercial application than Cy­clone-2. In July 1992 it placed six satellites into orbit two of which were Gonets satellites for a low orbit communication network. In January 1994 together with the Meteor-3 satellite Cy­clone-3 carried the German experimental minisat­ellite Tubsat B. In August 1995 in addition to the first Ukrainian satellite Sich-1 it also launched the Chilean minisatellite FASat-Alfa. However, that time the subsatellite did not sepa­rate from the main payload. Accompanying for­eign scientific equipment was added to the main payload of Cyclone-3 several times. However, the stock of Cyclone-3 has virtually been used up. And it seems that the glorious story of the LV will end with this.

In the mid-1990s Ukraine suggested upgrading the Cyclone LV to enhance its commercial poten­tial. It suggested making a new third stage and increasing the head fairing. The European space center Kourou in French Guyana was assumed as the launching site for the LV described as Cy­clone-4. However, the European Space Agency and European companies have not shown any in­terest in Cyclone-4 so far, and therefore the project has remained only on paper.

Dnipro (Dnepr)

The situation is more favorable though not as good as with Zenit with another Ukrainian LV, Dnipro (Dnepr), which is a converted intercon­tinental ballistic missile. In general all light launch vehicles developed on the basis of inter­continental ballistic missiles such as Dnipro have not lived up to the expectations pinned to them some time ago. The forecasts of a big number of launches of light spacecraft to low orbits made in the early 1990s have still not come true. And so far there are no serious signs of a sharp increase in demand in this sector of the market of launch services.

The business plan of each LV developed from ballistic missiles in the framework of conversion provided for 7-10 commercial launches a year. However, in reality one or two have been made at best. Hopes for a serious rise in the number of launches after the first show launches have not come true. The same applies to other light LV in the rest of the world as well. Consequently, sev­eral countries have even cancelled or suspended their programs of developing such LV. Besides; there is the problem of the START-II treaty un­der which a whole series of intercontinental bal­listic missiles should be scrapped by December 31, 2007, including the Dnipro LV prototype. The launches of the LV should also end with the elimination of the ICBM prototypes.

The Ukrainian-Russian Dnipro LV was developed on the basis of the biggest ever intercontinental ballistic missile to be deployed and introduced into regular duty - RS-20 (R-36M, SS-18 Mod.3 or Satan according to the NATO classification). It was designed and manufactured in Dni­propetrovsk. According to different sources, 30 to over 100 such missiles scrapped under the START-II treaty should be converted into Dni­pro. The governments of Ukraine and Russia of­ficially approved the modification estimated at $100 million in January 1997.

Kosmotras International Space Company markets Dnipro. The joint venture with headquarters in Moscow was set up in November 1997 by NSAU and the Russian Space Agency. Ukrainian com­panies - Yuzhmash and Yuzhnoye Design office - own 50% in it and Russian - JSC Rosobsche­mash, JSC Askond, TsNII of Machine-Building, Design Bureau of Special Machine-Building and the Transport Machine-Building Scientific and Production Association - the other 50%.

Dnipro is launched from silos of Baikonur space center. Its first commercial launch took place on April 21, 1999, with three British UoSat 12 technological satellites as the payload. Unofficial reports say the launch cost merely $2 million. It must have been a promotional price to attract po­tential clients as Kosmotras hopes to launch some 150 Dnipro LV by 2007.

However, the second commercial launch took place only on September 26, 2000 when the LV placed in orbit the Malaysia Tiungsat-1 (another designation MY-Sat1), the Italian MegSat-1 and UniSat, and the Saudi SaudiSat-1 and SaudiSat-1B. Initially the launch was slated for August 25, 2000, but was put off for technical reasons. The next launch is scheduled for November 2001.

It must be said that the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces regard the two past launches as well as the coming one as regular test launches of the SS-18 intercontinental ballistic missile with the purpose of extending its service life as only the software distinguishes the LV from the ballistic missile. However, Kosmotras insists that Dnipro is a civilian LV.


Despite the almost complete absence of govern­ment funding Yuzhnoye Design Office continues developing new carriers. To further advance the Ukrainian space sector and expand Ukrainian presence on the international space market it is designing a family of advanced expendable LV running on environmentally harmless propellant components oxygen + kerosene. The new carriers named Mayak are meant to be applied for trans­portation operations in which the use of the ex­isting Zenit and Cyclone LV is impossible or un­profitable.

As Ukraine does not have its own space center, Mayak launch vehicles are supposed to be launched from foreign turf, which is facilitated by the willingness of some countries to apply re­liable and competitive foreign launch vehicles in their territories. The design office hopes to guar­antee the competitiveness of Mayak LV, includ­ing minimized launch costs, guaranteed high reli­ability and broad launch capabilities, through a balanced combination of new and existing tech­nologies, the versatility of the family, the sim­plicity of adapting the launch vehicles to differ­ent payloads and capability to flexibly and rap­idly adjust to the needs of potential clients.

Such advanced features may be achieved by de­veloping the family on the basis of uniform tech­nologies and standard components applied in Ze­nit and Cyclone serial launch vehicles. The new LVs will also share control systems and telemetry equipment designed and manufactured in Ukraine. Yuzhmash is viewed as the main manu­facturer of Mayak LV.

Under the current concept there will be two ba­sic models in the new Mayak family:

  • Mayak-12 - a two-stage light carrier with a body diameter of 3 m (the size is standard for the Cyclone LV production line) and lifting power of about 3 tons that will be capable of placing a payload of up to 1.5 tons into a solar synchronous orbit at the altitude of 800 km,

  • Mayak-23 - a three-stage medium LV with a body diameter of 3.9 m (the standard size of the Zenit LV production line) capable of tak­ing satellites weighing about 3 tons into a transfer geostationary orbit.

Each of the models will have its own modifica­tions expanding the sphere of their application, in particular by increasing lifting power 30-50% through the installation of launching boosters. The appearance of the modifications will become better known in the process of further efforts to adjust the launch vehicles to the launch sites. Options in several parts of the globe are being considered and several foreign companies are in­volved in the projects.

The first launches of Mayak will be possible in 4-5 years and the time depends primarily on eco­nomic factors. The commercial attractiveness of the project, the high degree of its readiness of technical documentation and production capaci­ties are weighty prerequisites for achieving the set objectives.

The leaders of the project at Yuzhnoye Design Office hope that conditions will arise in the nearest future for government support for the project and this will be reflected in the National Space Program for 2002-2006. This circumstance should stimulate the interest of potential inves­tors; industrial partners and future clients of launch services in the project.

Basic space platforms

In 30 years Yuzhnoye Design Office has devel­oped nine versions of standard space platforms (DS-U, Okean, AUOS and others) on the basis of which over 60 types of spacecraft were de­signed. It is now working on the following proj­ects:

  • standard minisatellite platforms (50-500 kilo),

  • a basic space platform (500-2,000 kilos) for remote sensing from space and for space com­munications,

  • a basic high orbit platform for space com­munication networks, navigation and special purpose spacecraft.

The development work proceeds in stages, the first stage being the development and flight-testing of the minisatellite platform MS-1TK. At later stages the design and technological solu­tions will be used for the MS minisatellite and DZZ basic spacecraft platform. Unlike the mini­satellite the basic platform will be equipped with an engine to take the spacecraft to a designed point of the orbit and correct launch errors.

The victory in the tender to design, manufacture and launch the first Egyptian satellite announced on June 26, 2001 was a big success for the Ukrainian space industry. Yuzhnoye Design Of­fice took part in the tender with its MS minisat­ellite project.  The victory was achieved in strong competition with rivals from many coun­tries, including leading companies from Britain, Russia and Italy.

The earth sensing satellite suggested by Ukraine will be developed on the basis of microtechnolo­gies and have the weight of about 100 kilos. It will carry a multispectral scanner with high di­mensional resolution in the visible range and well as also data transmission equipment functioning as an electronic postman. The satellite will be used on a solar synchronous orbit at the altitude of 668 kilometers. It is expected to be launched with Dnipro LV. Under the conditions of the tender the Ukrainian side should also develop and deploy a ground control center in Egypt, modernize the remote sensing data reception sta­tion, train Egyptian personnel and instruct it on developing satellites of the same class.

The partners of Yuzhnoye Design Office in the project will be Yuzhmash, the Radio Measure­ment Research Institute (Kharkiv), Khartron-Konsat and Khartron-Yukom Scientific Produc­tion Enterprises (Zaporizhzhya), the KONEX State Scientific Production Enterprise (Lviv) and others. Yuzhnoye Design Office is currently ne­gotiating the contract with the Egyptian National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sci­ences. Unofficial reports say Ukraine managed to win the tender only by offering a dumping price. In any case the British and Russian projects were no worse than the Ukrainian and in some techni­cal respects even superior. But Egyptians liked the price of Yuzhnoye Design Office most of all.

National security-related space efforts

The leadership of the Ukrainian space program believes that «in a modern civilized country the main components of national security are military and economic security, environmental safety and protection from the influence of emergency fac­tors.» Hence Ukraine is considering the possibil­ity of solving tasks of collective and national se­curity through the use of space means of observa­tion, communication and navigation. These means should be applied to analyze potential threats coming from areas local armed conflicts, natural disasters, man-caused disasters and also to monitor natural and technological processes with the purpose of forecasting natural disasters and environmental catastrophes. Besides, space means should be used to transmit emergency-re­lated data and to coordinating efforts to clear their consequences and control the observation of intentional agreements on the use of the atmos­phere and space.

These are the goals of a special program - Space Operations in the Interests of National Security. The program is quite modestly funded; conse­quently the results of its implementation are also modest. So far Ukraine has made the biggest headway in the sphere of observation from space - remote sensing.

Remote sensing

Under a NSAU decision remote sensing of the Earth is a priority of the Ukrainian space pro­gram. In the process of implementing its space programs Ukraine is expected to gradually build the Sich spacer observation network to collect data on the Earth in the optical and radio ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum with the help of sensors attached to aerospace carriers.

The concept of developing a closed remote sens­ing network consisting of the space and ground segments and also a computer segment for proc­essing and analyzing aerospace date lies at the core of developing the Sich system. It is believed that in a certain way the system will guarantee Ukraine independence in data collecting data and promote the development of space technologies.

The August 31, 1995, launch of Sich-1 (actually a regular Okean-01 spacecraft developed back in Soviet times) and the July 17, 1999 launch of Okean-0 became the first and second stages of implementing the Sich space observation net­work. However, given current scanty government funding and international tendencies to coordina­tion and integration in remote sensing it was de­cided to anticipate broad international coopera­tion and interaction in the emerging network. The Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) organizes such cooperation on the basis of free dissemination of data for the solution of day-to-day weather forecasting tasks and crisis settlement, along with commercial use of high-resolution data for tacking a broad range of ap­plied tasks.

Hence the Sich network implies the collection of data from foreign satellites, thus giving domestic users (if they wish) fast access to the entire spec­trum of remote sensing data available in the world. Data collection from these satellites is guaranteed both by direct receipt of data in Ukraine (NOAA, METEOSAT, later TERRA) and by the acquisition of images (mainly high resolution) on a commercial basis.

Given international experience the following concepts are applied for disseminating and using remote sensing data in the Sich network:

  • the introduction of international format and catalogue standards,

  • the formation of a circle of users by sector and territory,

  • theoretical support for the solution of spe­cific tasks,

  • gradual transition to the dissemination of data on a commercial basis.

  • In their turn the development and moderni­zation of the space segment of the Sich network are aimed at the following objectives:

  • non-stop collection of data in different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum through regu­lar launches of spacecraft (mainly remote sensing minisatellites),

  • the prolongation of the active operation of spacecraft in orbit to 3-5 years of guaranteed service life (later to 5-7 years),

  • the development of test prototypes of future spacecraft and onboard instruments with tech­nical parameters taking into account interna­tional trends and findings.

The following remote sensing projects are being carried out:

  • Sich - the development and operation of the space segment of the remote observation net­work. In its framework Yuzhnoye Design Of­fice is developing Sich-1M and Sich-2 satellites with advanced parameters,

  • Sreda - the development of the ground net­work for receiving, storing, processing and dis­seminating aerospace sensing data,

  • Monitoring - the development of computer hardware and software systems for processing and interpreting aerospace sensing data,

  • Zondirovaniye - the scientific accompaniment of remote sensing efforts.

Space telecommunications, navigation and information networks

The main purpose of developing space telecom­munication networks is to satisfy public demand for modern digital communication services, in­cluding interactive and multimedia communica­tion, television and radio broadcasting  (collec­tive and personal) services by comprehensively using the resources of the space segment:

  • the existing foreign geostationary (Intelsat, Inmarsat, Eutelsat, Express-A, Yamal, Astra, Amos etc.) and low orbit (Orbcomm, Global­star etc.) communication networks;

  • the future Ukrainian geostationary satellite communication and broadcasting network Ly­bid-M. For the purpose Yuzhnoye Design Of­fice is developing Lybid communication satel­lite to be launched on the Zenit-3 LV. (The progress of the project has been slow due to the shortage of funding).

The development of satellite telecommunication networks amounts to the construction and ad­vancement of the space segment and ground in­frastructure of satellite communication, data transmission and television and radio broadcast­ing systems.

The development of the Ukrainian space segment of satellite communication and broadcasting net­works requires the following:

  • to provide national communication and broadcasting network operators with frequency resources;

  • to form the space segment of the geostation­ary communication network in cooperation with international satellite equipment manufac­turers;

  • to develop and guarantee the frequency re­sources of national satellite networks in a geo­stationary orbit on the basis of international legal documents.

The ground infrastructure of satellite communica­tion, data transmission and broadcasting net­works will be evolving in Ukraine in conditions of advancement of the latest digital technologies in close cooperation with national ground and satellite communication network operators. The following priority tasks should be carried out in this context:

  • to guarantee direct high quality and multi channel television and radio broadcastings (col­lective and personal), including interactive,

  • to guarantee interactive high speed access to the Internet,

  •    to guarantee the interconnection of indus­trial, regional, corporate and other communica­tion and broadcasting networks.

Ukrainian space research

Modest as its budget is NSAU continues to plan new scientific research in terrestrial space. So far the funds assigned for space research have been enough only to make individual instruments and install them on foreign satellites, manned space­craft and stations.

In 1997 Ukraine sent its first man to space: Leonid Kadenyuk made a flight on the Columbia space shuttle under the STS-87 program on No­vember 19 through December 9. His flight was a result of the implementation of an understanding between the presidents of Ukraine and the United States on preparing and conducting joint manned experiments in space. Ukrainian astro­naut candidates Leonid Kadenyuk and Yaroslav Pustovyi received a course of special training at the Johnson Space Center in the United States. During the mission Kadenyuk carried out only one Ukrainian experiment on the comprehensive study of the space biology of plants, the rest of the time he worked on the American program.

Ukraine also counts on participation in ISS and for this purpose it is planning to build its own scientific module for the station. Ukraine and Rusisa signed a bilateral agreement on the sub­ject back in summer 1997.

«We are planning to sign a trilateral agreement in the first half of next year with RSA and NASA on the construction of a Ukrainian module in the framework of the Russian segment of ISS. According to plan, Ukraine will spend $100 to $150 million on developing one of the Russian research modules in order to launch it in 2005 or 2006,» said NSAU Deputy General Director Eduard Kuznetsov.

He added that Ukraine discussed the details of cooperation with Russia and the United States over a year ago and expected support from the European Space Agency. Rusisa intended to build two scientific modules for ISS by the end of 2004. However, the project badly lags behind schedule due to the lack of financing.

«We are planning to jointly develop one of the scientific modules. However, we should once again think over how to compensate this contri­bution to Ukraine. It is most likely that we will guarantee Ukraine access to certain resources of the Russian segment of the ISS,» head of RSA manned programs Mikhail Sinelshchikov said at the Kennedy Center on December 2, 1998.

NSAU counts on using the module for conduct­ing various scientific experiments and also regu­larly sending Ukrainian astronauts to ISS.

Ukraine the same as Brazil and Italy will not be a partner to the ISS program but will act only as a participant, the NASA manager for ISS Randy Brinkley has said.

Ukraine can hardly build and launch a module on its own. Therefore, two leading Russian space companies - Energia RSC and the Khrunichev Space Center - are competing for the contract for the Ukrainian scientific module. In May 1998 at the Council of Chief Designers at RSA they pre­sented their scientific module options: the Khrunichev Center a module derived from the functional cargo unit to be launched by Proton-K LV, and Energia RSC a module derived from the cargo spacecraft Progress M1 to be launched by Zenit-2 LV. Both projects imply standard inter­faces for installing struts with scientific equip­ment. The struts could be replaced if need be. NSAU should have made is choice at the begin­ning of 1999. However, the agreement on the project was never signed for the lack of funds. Instead Ukraine expressed its wish to install sev­eral scientific instruments and pieces of equip­ment on the American segment of ISS.

In the 1990s Ukraine launched its own original scientific project to study fundamental processes in the ionosphere and magnetosphere of the Earth with the purpose of discovering forerunners of natural disasters, including earthquakes of great magnitude. The project was called Poperedzhen­nya. Scientists from several Ukrainian institutes and their colleagues from Russia, the United States, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic intended to conduct detailed measurements of pa­rameters of ionospheric plasma from a spacecraft and simultaneously collect ground observation data, primarily seismic. It this way they hoped to develop a comprehensive idea on the interconnec­tion between seismic and ionospheric processes. However, the project has been suspended in the absence of money.

The biggest international project in which Ukraine is currently involved is Coronas-F. It is designed to study atomized and collective (plasma and hydromagentic) processes on the ac­tive Sun and near it on the basis of comprehen­sive measurements a broad range of electromag­netic waves (from gamma to the radio band), and also changes in the flows of electrons, pro­tons, neutrons and nuclei of solar origin. The project is financed by Rosaviakosmos. In its framework Yuzhnoye Design Office together with Russian colleagues developed the project and Yuzhmash made the Coronas-F satellite on the basis of the AUOS-SM platform. It was launched from Plesetsk space center in Rusisa with a Cyclone-2 LV on July 31, 2001.1


Ukraine is a major space power manufacturing several types of launch vehicles and spacecraft. However, in the foreseeable future all its projects can be carried out only in close cooperation with the Russian space industry with which the Ukrainian space industry constituted an indivisi­ble entity before the collapse of the USSR.

Nevertheless in its space policy Ukraine does not rely only on Russia. NSAU closely cooperates with American and European partners, primarily on commercial projects (launch services, the manufacture of cheap spacecraft).

The government funding of the space sector is so scanty that it has not been enough for a single serious project. However, participation in com­mercial programs, primarily launch services, has provided the Ukrainian space sector with the funds necessary to maintain its technical and en­gineering potential. If this support dries up, an end may come to the Ukrainian space industry.

Sources: materials of the National Space Agency of Ukraine, Yuzhnoye Design Office, Rosavia­kosmos, Kosmotras, Sea Launch and NASA

1 ORT news, 31.07.2001, www.ortv.ru

Print version
© Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, 2014