Ukraine exploring space
Ukraine has participated in the construction of three rockets which are planned to be launched in November. This information was published by the Spaceflight Now portal which informs about all scheduled launches of space carriers. Ukraine is one of the leaders among countries that possess and develop space technologies.
The first one to be launched is “Vega” rocket. It is used by the European Space Agency and it will take off on November 8. As part of the contract signed with the Italian company Avio in 2004, Ukraine provides engines for “Vega” rockets. 11 “Vegas” have been launched so far.
The launch of American rocket “Antares” is scheduled for November 10. Its first stage was designed and manufactured by a consortium of several Ukrainian companies including the Design Office “Pivdenne” by M. Yangiel and The Production Association Yuzhny Machine-Building Plant named after A.M. Makarov, PA Pivdenmash or PA Yuzhmash. Both companies are located in Dnipro.
In November, the “Zenit” rocket will take off and it is an entirely Ukrainian product. It was constructed by the Design Office “Pivdenne” and built in the “Pivdenmasz” factory.
Ukrainian rocket “Zenit” was designed to carry space apparatus of average weight into orbit and it is considered as one of the best in the world.
A few months ago, Elon Musk – an entrepreneur and an owner of Tesla Motors, PayPal and SpaceX, claimed during a conversation on CNN television that the rocket “Zenit”, produced in Dnipro, is the second best in the world. He considers a rocket “Falcon”, made by SpaceX, as the best one.
Ukraine inherited the space industry after the Soviet Union fell. However, it was mostly of military characteristics. Ballistic missiles designed for nuclear warheads were developed and manufactured in factories in Dnipro since the 1950s. Dnipro was a closed city by the end of the 1980s, and the “Pivdenmasz” factory employed even 100,000 people. Everything was under the strict supervision of the KGB.
When Ukraine became an independent country, it quit on having nuclear weapons and stopped the process of development of the military missile technologies. In return, using the experience and relying on military rockets, Ukraine started to design and develop the production of space carriers used for peaceful purposes.
Ukraine is among six countries with the most developed space technology. About 40 large enterprises and many smaller ones are involved in the making of the space projects. Ukraine has five systems of rocket carriers. Over 100 Ukrainian rockets flew into space carrying more than 200 satellites into orbit since Ukraine gained independence in 1991.
Ukraine cooperates actively with a lot of countries. One of the most interesting projects is the cooperation with Brazil. Since singing an agreement in 2003, Ukraine and Brazil have shared the Alcantara spaceport in Brazil. The Ukrainian side is to provide carriers – “Tsyklon-4” rockets and build a launch complex for them. However, due to financial problems, this project is significantly delayed.
The State Space Agency of Ukraine (National Space Agency of Ukraine till 2009) is responsible for the development of astronautics in Ukraine. There is a space control-measuring complex near Yevpatoriya in Crimea. I was put into service in 1960. Ukraine lost control over that complex due to the Russian annexation of the Peninsula in the spring of 2014.