Ukraine Looks to Extend Space Cooperation with U.S., China

Ukraine_logoSpace News has an extensive Q&A with Yuriy Boyko, Ukraine’s Vice Prime Minister for Ecology, Natural Resources, Energy and Space. The interview primarily focuses on the nation’s space program, its joint Cyclone 4 launch vehicle program with Brazil, and its efforts to increase cooperation with the United States and China.

Some of the highlights:

  • Ukraine’s main launch vehicles include Zenit (Sea Launch, Land Launch), Dnepr (joint program with Russia), Cyclone 4 (joint program with Brazil), and the first stage structure for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares.
  • Ukraine spends between $400 million and $500 million on its space program mostly for science work, but receives about $600 million annually in revenues from commercial work;
  • Brazil and Ukraine have committed $1.5 million (split equally) over a three-year period to Cyclone 4, which should have its first test flight from the Alcantara Launch Center by early 2015;
  • The partners hope that South American countries with satellite programs will flock to the Alcantara facility on Brazil’s Atlantic coast;
  • The upper stage developed for the Cyclone 4 could be a good fit for the Antares rocket;
  • Boyko recently completed consultations with NASA and U.S. commercial space companies concerning cooperative programs, with the two governments establishing a framework for further cooperation;
  • There are no specific cooperative programs to announce yet between Ukraine and American government and private entities;
  • Ukraine would like to become involved in the International Space Station program;
  • Boyko says that Ukrainian specialists have extensive experience with radiation shielding technology, which could help the United States with human Mars and deep space missions;
  • Ukraine is consulting with China, which is very interested in developing large propulsion systems.

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Cyclone-4 Launch From Brazil Slips into 2015

The construction of the Cyclone-4 assembly and test facility. (Credit: HCA)
The construction of the Cyclone-4 assembly and test facility. (Credit: HCA)

Aviation Week reports the decade-long effort to launch Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center is going to take a little longer.

The inaugural flight has now slipped into late 2015 at the earliest, adding to what has already been years of delay. Meanwhile, costs of building the launch complex have nearly doubled and are approaching $1 billion.

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Cyclone-4 Project Gets Funding Infusions From Brazil, Ukraine

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket
Ukraine’s Cyclone rocket

ACS PRs — The Brazilian Government has made a planned contribution of R$33,333,333 [$14,671,361] to the ACS capital. Transfer of these funds was authorized by the Presidential Decree dated 23.08.2013 and published on 26.08.2013 in the Diário Oficial da União, the official newspaper.

The Decree also mentioned the equivalent contribution of the Ukrainian Party realized by means of intergovernmental transfer.

The Ukrainian Parliament (Verkhovna Rada) has approved the State Scientific and Technical Space Program of Ukraine for the period of 2013-2017 and accepted for consideration the Draft Law on Financial Support of the Cyclone-4 Project Implementation.

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Brazil’s Cyclone-4 Project Hits Another Snag as Workers Laid Off

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket
Ukraine’s Cyclone rocket

Brazil’s decade-long quest to bring Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket to the Alcantara Launch Center is reported to have hit another snag, this time due to financial problems at the Alcantara Cyclone Space (ACS) company. The Jorno do Brasil reports (via Google Translate):

According to sources close to the Alcantara Space Base, where the program is developed in the country, about two thousand [workers] contracted by ACS were discharged in the last two months. The scenery in this place is abandoned, as shown in photos uploaded to the Official Brazil. Most equipment has been rented and returned those remaining on the base are abandoned in the open air without any maintenance, according to the same sources….

Complaints received by the Journal of Brazil also relate to the subject of the work stoppage. According to the sources, to dismiss officials, heads of departments claimed that “it [layoffs] is happening because the company [ACS] has not paid the contractors.”

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Ukraine to Brazil: Come Up With More Money for Cyclone-4 Program

Ukraine's Cyclone rocket
Ukraine’s Cyclone rocket

A press release from the Ukrainian government:

Ukraine has called on Brazil to find financing in order to continue realization of the Cyclone-4 project.

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov announced during a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Brazil Antonio Patriota.

“An objectively successful project of our cooperation appears the Cyclone-4 Alcantara. The reliable realization of this project will contribute to increasing the authority of both your and our countries. In this complex situation the Government of Ukraine has approved a decision: for realization of this project to draw credit resources. We hope that the Brazilian side would use every opportunity to continue financing of their part of the project,” he said.

The release provides no details on precisely how much more Ukraine expects Brazil to put into the joint project, which began in 2002 with an expected first flight in 2006. The program has not launched a single rocket while suffering numerous delays and financial shortfalls. The maiden flight is now scheduled for sometime in 2014.

The launch vehicle is an enhanced version of the Soviet-era Cyclone-3 launch vehicle. It is designed to launch from Brazil’s Alcantara Space Center, which is located near the equator.

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Yuzhnoye, Special Aerospace Services Sign U.S. Teaming Agreement

special_aerospace_servicesBOULDER, CO (SAS PR) — Special Aerospace Services, a leader in aerospace systems engineering solutions, announced on April 10, 2013, that it has signed a teaming agreement with Ukrainian-based hardware and aerospace technology manufacturer, Yuzhnoye SDO. The teaming agreement will provide Ukrainian rocket engine technology, systems, and services to the U.S. market.

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Brazil Scales Back Launch Vehicle Plans

vls1_on_pad_2
By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Brazil has come out with a new strategic plan to guide its space efforts through 2021 that involves a significant change in its effort to develop a domestic satellite launch industry.

Brazil has scaled back an ambitious Southern Cross development program to focus on a series of smaller launch vehicles that appear to rely more on home-grown technology. The country also has forged a cooperative arrangement with Germany to develop a dedicated micro-satellite launch vehicle. Meanwhile, Brazil is continuing work on launching Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from the Alcantara Launch Center in 2014.
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First Cyclone 4 Launch Slips into 2014

Ukraine’s Cyclone rocket

The first launch of the Ukrainian Cyclone 4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center, originally set for next year, has been delayed:

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Ukrainian counterpart Victor Yanukovich agreed Friday on a plan to launch a jointly developed satellite from the South American nation in 2014….

That partnership dates from 2003, when Brazil and Ukraine embarked on the Cyclone 4 Alcantara project, which involves developing a launch vehicle to put satellites into orbit from the Alcantara base in the northeastern Brazilian state of Maranhao.

The $588 million venture is part of Brazil’s drive to join the club of countries capable of launching satellites, now limited to the United States, Russia, China, France, India, Israel, Japan and Ukraine.

Read the full story.

Brazil Briefs: Budget Figures, VLS Progress and Indian Cooperation

Some updates on the Brazilian space program:

  • Officials have budgeted $2.2 billion over the next three years for the nation’s space program, according to press reports. The largest chunk of the funds will go toward efforts to launch Ukraine’s Cyclone-4 rocket from Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center. The inaugural flight is currently scheduled for late 2013. Another key priority is the CBERS-3 environmental satellite that Brazil is developing with China.
  • On March 29, engineers conducted the second test on the separation of the four drives of the first stage of the new VLS-1 rocket, a small satellite booster set to make its inaugural flight later this year. “Measurements were made of mechanical shock, vibration, almost static, distortion, simultaneous separation of the four drivers of the first stage, displacement, and the cover photo and video (HD and high speed),” according a press statement.
  • Brazil and India have agreed to strengthen cooperation in “such as remote sensing, data sharing and weather,” according to a joint communique issued after a summit between Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “Brazil reiterated the desire to receive satellite images from Indian ResourceSat-2, given the successful cooperation in receiving data from an in-ResourceSat Ground Station Cuiabá. With regard to IBSA Satellite Project, the two leaders expressed their great interest in working together for the success of the program. A technical meeting is to be held in Bangalore in 2012.”
  • The two leaders also agreed to Indian cooperate in Brazil’s Science Without Borders program, under which the South American country seeks to educate 75,000 students abroad. The cooperation will involve an exchange of students and educators between the two nations and other educational activities.

 

Ukraine Celebrates 50 Years in Space

Ukraine recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its first satellite launch into space. On March 16, 1962, the Cosmos-2 rocket lifted off with the Cosmos-1 satellite aboard. Both the rocket and the spacecraft were developed by the Ukrainian-based Special Design Office 586 (OKB 586), now known as Yuzhnoye SDO.

In addition to the Cosmos family of rockets, Yuzhnoye’s other launch vehicles include the Zenit rockets flown by Land Launch and Sea Launch, the Dnepr ballistic missiles used to launch small satellites, the Cyclone-4 boosters set to make begin flights out of Alcantara in Brazil next year, and the first stage tanks and structure for Orbital Sciences Corporation’s new Antares rocket that will lift off from Virginia later this year. The company also provides an upper stage for Europe’s new Vega launcher.

Ukraine’s contributions to space are often overlooked, and this anniversary went largely unnoticed outside of that nation. So,  I thought it would be nice to give the Ukrainians their due. I found an account of the launch prepared by the good folks at the Yuzhnoye press office. It begins after the break.

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Alcantara Marks 29th Year, Looks Forward to Orbital Launches

ALCÂNTARA (March 6, 2012 — State of Maranhão PR) — The 29 years of foundation of the Alcantara Launch Center, in Maranhão, yesterday, were marked by priorities to be implemented this year: the completion of the process of technological modernization, eight campaigns rocket launches entry-level intermediary, the operation of the Tower Mobile Integration (TMI) and the first ground test of the Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV).

The anniversary ceremony was attended by the deputy governor of Maranhão, Washington Oliveira, Senator Edison Lobão Filho and the President of the Legislative Assembly of Maranhao, Arnaldo Melo, who have been awarded the title of Friend of the Alcantara Launch Center, a recognition of the personalities that CLA, in the context of their professional duties, have contributed to the success of the Brazilian Space Program.

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SpaceX Sets April 30 Launch Date for Dragon ISS Mission

Falcon 9 launch. (Credit: Chris Thompson)

The SATELLITE 2012 Conference is going on this week in Washington, DC. Jeff Foust sat in on some sessions today and posted updates on Twitter at @jeff_foust. He covered panels by launch providers and the four major satellite operators.

Launch Vehicle Providers Panel

SpaceX

  • Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX announces they have an April 30 launch date for their next Dragon mission to ISS; berth May 3.
  • Shotwell: they have almost an instantaneous launch window that day; launch opportunities only every 3 days.
  • Shotwell: will have 1st upgraded Falcon 9 (needed for comm’l sat launches) at VAFB by December, launch “shortly thereafter”

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High-Level Argentine Delegation to Visit Brazil’s Alcantara Launch Center

By José Monserrat Filho
Head of International Cooperation Cooperation
Brazilian Space Agency (AEB)

On Thursday, March 15, a high-level delegation of Argentina will visit the Alcantara Launch Center (CLA) in Maranhao, considered one of the most privileged of the world space launch insurance, economic and competitive.

The tour meets at the invitation, in 2011, then President of the Brazilian Space Agency, Marco Antonio Raupp, now Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, during a meeting at the Foreign Ministry on cooperation between the two countries for the peaceful uses of outer space.

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Ukraine’s 5-Year Space Plan Focuses on Public-Private Partnerships, Commercial Activities

UKRAINE SPACE AGENCY PR — At a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers February 15, 2012 approved the Concept of national targeted scientific and technical space program for 2013-2017 (hereinafter – the Program).

The concept defined the problem to be solved by directed program, an analysis of its causes, is the objective of the Programme on the basis of comparative analysis, the optimal solution of the problem and solve it, given the expected results of the program, as well as approximate the necessary financial resources.

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