Ukraine without satellites: Technologies become obsolete, specialists go abroad

Author : Olena Holubeva

Source : 112 Ukraine

The last launch of the Ukrainian satellite of remote sensing of the earth was carried out in 2011
13:32, 7 June 2019

Read the first part and the second part of our longread here.

One of the promising areas for the Yuzhnoe design office is the creation of satellites. The cost of the device today can reach up to 200-300 million dollars, and, of course, the case of manufacturing satellites for third-party customers, the company would receive greater benefits.

However, despite the fact that the Yuzhnoe design office has a modern "clean" laboratory for building satellites with the eighth purity level, the last launch of the Ukrainian satellite of remote sensing of the earth was carried out in 2011. Since that time, no satellite has been launched.

At the same time, in 2005-2014, 620 small satellites were launched worldwide (or an average of 62 satellites per year). In 2015 - 2019, 510 small satellites were launched and scheduled for launch (about 100 per year). Valeriy Borovyk, head of the board of the New Energy Alliance of Ukraine, published these data in the Mirror of the Week outlet. The market volume of launches SMALLSATS (small satellites) is estimated at approximately $ 1.5 billion.

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Ukraine now has the only satellite in orbit, created by students and professors of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute named after Igor Sikorsky, - PolyITAN-2-SAU nanosatellite. It performs a single function, it gives a signal. “For a country with such a developed industry as Ukraine, this is a rather weak indicator. On the other hand, the PolyITAN case is proof of a consistently high level of engineering and space education in Ukraine,” Yevhen Rokytsky, the head of the board of the Dnipro space cluster, says.

The satellite was launched into orbit in 2013 along with satellites from other universities in the world. Of the 38 put into orbit, it is the only one that continues to function.

Due to the absence of its own satellites, Ukraine has to buy information from other countries. The Sich 2-1 satellite, which Yuzhnoe is now developing for the benefit of both law enforcement agencies and civilian issues, has a capacity of 8 meters. “Law enforcement agencies do not need such a satellite," Valeriy Borovyk said.

Related: Ukrainian space sector anticipates big changes

According to him, the New Energy of Ukraine Alliance, which in 2015 manufactured the engine for the Singapore satellite, in collaboration with German, English, and Italian companies, proposed the creation of a remote sensing satellite with 0.7-0. 8 m capacity. At the same time, its cost could reach 30 million euros.

Not allowing private companies to create remote sensing satellites, nor to rocket and space technologies, the state itself does not finance the Ukrainian space industry. If you compare the volume of budget investments of other countries in the space sector in relation to their GDP, you can see that the US spends a record $ 18 billion (0.1% of the country's GDP), Europe - $ 5 billion (0.03% of GDP), Japan - more than 2 billion dollars (0.07% of GDP). At the same time, Russia, which invests $ 2.5 billion in space, spends a record 0.23% of GDP, which significantly affects its economy. China's investment in the space industry is classified. On a number of issues, our country is still ahead of both the United States and European countries.

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An average salary at Yuzhnoe design office is 530 USD per month. In the face of lack of money, the space rocket industry, like the aviation industry, continues to lose numerous specialists. In general, around 700 thousand employees are employed in the space industry worldwide (Ukraine has about 20 thousand, and this number is reduced by about 10% annually). At the same time, in many countries (Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and others that are included in the space race) the demand for industry professionals is growing at a tremendous pace. Ukrainian specialists go abroad, as they are in demand there. For example, one of the software developers for the Falcon-9 rocket control system (USA) is a Ukrainian, a recent migrant.

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