Day 1 at the Conference “Space Technologies: Present and Future”

The conference “Space Technologies: Present and Future” was established by Ukrainian space industry organizations (Yuzhnoye State Design Office, Yuzhmash plant, State Space Agency of Ukraine), and is held under the aegis of the International Academy of Astronautics.

In our introduction article we provided some major details of the 5th International Conference “Space Technologies: Present and Future”. Here we focus on the most interesting quotes and events, happed on the first Conference day.

Entrance to Palace of Students in Dnipropetrovsk, where the Conference is held
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Opening Ceremony

Alexander Degtyarev, General Designer of Yuzhnoye SDO, started the Conference with introduction of Plenary Session general committee and read a welcome letter from the former President of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma, who served as General Director of Yuzhmash plant in early 90th.

Then Oleg Uruskyi, Chief of State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU), told about the Strategy of space activities until 2022, recently approved by the Scientific Council of SSAU. The Strategy consists of two phases, 2013-2017 State Space Program intensification and development measures, and 2018-2022 preliminary plan.

Following a representative of Dnipropetrovsk regional administration Marius-Ioan Piso, President of the Romanian Space Agency (ROSA) and Member of the Board of Trustees at the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) had a speech. He described IAA structure, goals and achievement so far, noticing that Ukraine, having 27 representatives in the organization, is one of its top-10 nations.

After welcome speeches of representatives of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Xi'an Aerospace Propulsion Institute, R&D organization within China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the Ceremony ended with inauguration of Claude Nicollier, the first astronaut of Switzerland, as the member of the IAA.

Claude Nicollier, Swiss astronaut, receives IAA membership diploma
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Plenary Session. Part 1

Main provisions of the report made by Alexander Degtyarev with regards to the current Yuzhnoye SDO space activities:

  • Yuzhnoye's cooperation in Ukraine includes more than 120 companies and organizations.
  • Current Yuzhnoye's international cooperation: Orbital ATK's Antares (first stage), Dnepr, Sea Launch, Land Launch, Cyclone-4 and, 'not as involved as we want, but still we are in' South Korea's KSLV-II national second-generation launcher.
  • Yuzhnoye also works on two solid rocket systems, 'AKRK' and 'TKRK', with undisclosed customer(s), and develops Mayak next-generation family of launch vehicles.
  • Company is interested in small satellite (SmallSat) launchers: Igla small-class rocket and Microspace, TKS, Space Clipper air-launched systems are under development.
  • Yuzhnoye specializes in rocket engines as well, however, mainly in steering engines and for upper stages ones. Currently it has preliminary hardware manufacturing contract on a 250-ton thrust engine with Yuzhmash plant.
  • Yuzhnoye was expert in remote sensing and scientific satellites, having launched more than 400 of them over its history. It has launched only 2 spacecraft in the past years and plans to launch more (Sich-2-1, Sich-2M, Ionosat-Microsat) in upcoming years under the State Space Program of Ukraine.
  • Concept of an Orbital Space Plane (looks similar to X-37) is under development. Moreover, Yuzhnoye has an undisclosed customer for such draft concept.
  • Mr. Degtyarev expressed regret for not being contracted to make the first Ukrainian telecom satellite Lybid, even despite creating its initial data and technical features. Instead, SSAU awarded Lybid contract to MDA of Canada and ISS Reshetnev of Russia. Its launch is planned for the end of this year atop Zenit rocket from Baikonur.
  • Yuzhnoye works under military orders to arm Ukrainian army. According to Degtyarev, he'd prefer to work under civil projects, but 'unfortunately, the world respects power'.
  • Yuzhnoye works close with the Academy of Sciences in order to make its products cheaper, more competitive, and establishes experimental production facilities (as an example, one of the Conference sponsors, Macedonia-based Mikrosam has recently delivered a state-of-the-art filament-winding machine to Yuzhnoye).
  • Alexander Degtyarev sees tremendous market opportunities in 'orbital services' – company so far is developing concepts of so-called dual-launch, orbital debris removal, and in-orbit satellite maintenance and servicing means.

Orbital ATK sponsors coffee-breaks at the Conference
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Press-conference

Answering a question about future of Zenit rockets, Alexander Degtyarev mentioned its existing (frozen) status, saying that its production costs have risen (because of many Russian components), making it uncompetitive comparing to Proton-M at Russian governmental market. Anyway, interest in launching Zenit rockets exists, and Yuzhnoye 'knows how to get Zenit back to the market'. So far, 2 missions this year (Electro-L and Lybid satellites) and one mission in 2016 are expected.

After questions to Filippo Graziani from La Sapienza university in Rome and astronomer Klim Churyumov, co-founder of worldwide famous comet 67P, Chief of State Space Agency of Ukraine Oleg Uruskyi was asked about Ukrainian space industry reform and priorities in international cooperation.

Mr. Uruskyi told that currently an independent audit is being conducted at Yuzhmash plant in order to formulate a roadmap of its 'crisis-escaping'. He noticed that a reform of the industry has been imminent, and that one possible way of it consists in consolidation and corporatization. Thus, Yuzhnoye design office and Yuzhmash plant (both located in Dnipropetrovsk) may be merged, and other Ukrainian space enterprises may be united under a state-owned consortium.

Answering the question about international focus, Oleg Uruskyi emphasized emerging cooperation with NASA. According to him, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has even accepted an invitation to visit Ukraine. The other issue is Cyclone-4 program. Although it is formally continues, Uruskyi supposed necessity to search for a back-up places of its dislocation. One of such locations, the most realistic in Uruskyi's opinion, is the USA.

Oleg Ventskovskyi, representative of Yuzhnoye SDO in Western Europe, noted that the best way for Ukraine to follow its newly chosen (and supported by vast majority of population) vector to integrate into European markets and community is through strengths and recognized achievements. According to him, 'space industry is undoubtedly such strength of Ukraine'.

Ventskovskyi assured that real steps to integrate State Space Agency of Ukraine in the European Space Agency are made, and that soon some interim milestones on this way will be publicly announced.

Press-conference session during the Conference
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Plenary Session. Part 2

  • Klim Churyumov told about basic concepts of comets' science and described in details ESA's one-of-a-kind Rosetta mission, Philae landing on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, and scientific findings of this unique mission.
  • Yaroslav Yatskiv, member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the International Academy of Astronautics, made a presentation of Aerosol-UA, Ukrainian Earth-science mission that is preparing in cooperation with Yuzhnoye SDO and IAA.
  • Representative of Xi'an Aerospace Propulsion Institute (CASC organization) talked about their recent achievements in the development of turbopump assembly for 35-kN rocket engine with propellant components pair kerosene + hydrogen peroxide.
  • Sergey Moskalev, Yuzhnoye leading engineer in satellite technologies, made a general presentation of existing and advanced orbital servicing technologies. In particular, he described a concept of Spacecraft of Orbital Servicing (SOS) that could perform various tasks in-orbit, from a satellite tugging into a geostationary orbit or its escort to various GEO-orbital slots, to spacecraft orientation maintenance and its repositioning into a disposal orbit.
  • Anatoly Alpatov, Head of Department of Institute of Technical Mechanics (NASU-SSAU organization), emphasized in his report on orbital debris problem and means of its removal, both contact and non-contact.
  • Closing the first day of the Conference, Alexander Degtyarev invited participants to a gala-dinner.

There are two conditions of a successful conference. The first one is to hold a good plenary session, and the second one is to have a good dinner after it. Alexander Degtyarev, General Designer of Yuzhnoye SDO
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