Prospects for Ukraineâ??s Space Effort Looking Up

The first stage of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Taurus II vehicle is shipped out from Yuzhnoye design bureau in Ukraine. (Credt: Yuzhnoye)

After the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, newly independent Ukraine was left with some significant space assets from which to build  a national program. Ukrainian companies build the Zenit, Cyclone and Dnepr launch vehicles that are used for satellite delivery. The nation also recently shipped the first stage for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s new Taurus II rocket.  Ukrainian companies contribute to the construction of Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles, which ferry crews and supplies to the International Space Station. Ukraine also has the capability of building satellites and defense systems and has ground receiving stations.

The National Space Agency of Ukraine under Dr. Yuriy Alekseyev oversees the country’s space efforts.  Although overshadowed by its larger Russian counterpart, Roscosmos,  the NSAU is building on its Soviet-era foundation in an effort to become a force in international space.  The agency has continued to move forward despite funding difficulties, a global recession, and the bankruptcy of the Sea Launch consortium that uses the Zenit rocket. The nation, whose commercial space industry totaled $254 million in 2009, remains heavily dependent upon the Russian market although it is making major efforts at increasing its international cooperation and standing.

(…) Read the rest of Country Report: Prospects for Ukraine’s Space Effort Looking Up (3,911 words)

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(C) Douglas for Parabolic Arc, 2010. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us Post

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