Ukraine Looking to have Several Satellites in Orbit by 2026

Ukraine is ambitious to have a constellation of Earth observation satellites operational in orbit within a five-year time frame
Sich 2-M – high resolution Earth observation spacecraft
Sich 2-M – high resolution Earth observation spacecraft

This is envisaged in a draft of 2025 National Space Program of Ukraine released on a recent day by the country’s Ministry for Strategic Industries

At least two spacecraft – named Sich-2-30 and Sich-2M – are scheduled to be fully developed and built by 2025. The draft program additionally makes provisions for developing an optoelectronic satellite system and an ultra-high resolution satellite scanner.

Sich-2-1 (aka Sich 2-30) – a medium-resolution Earth observation spacecraft produced by KB Yuzhnoye/Pivdenne

The program is proposed with a budget of UAH 3.790 billion that will cover the following project costs:

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  • A medium-resolution Earth observation satellite system (Sich-2-30 spacecraft) – UAH 141 million; with completion date in 2021;
  • A constellation of high-resolution satellites (presumably Sich-2M spacecraft) centered around a domestically-made Earth observation scanner – UAH 909 million, with completion date in 2023;
  • Ultra-high resolution Earth observation system centered around a domestically developed electronic-optical scanner -- UAH 2.4 billion, with a tentative completion date in 2024;
  • Ultra-high resolution electronic-optical scanner – UAH 340 million, with a tentative completion date in 2025.

That said, the draft doesn’t set any time frame to develop and build the high-resolution Earth observation spacecraft (Sich-3-O) per se.

DE memo: the Ukrainian Government, by its decision released on April 7, appointed KB Yuzhnoye/Pivdenne to be Customer for services relating to development, manufacture and launch into orbit of Sich-2-30 Earth observation spacecraft. By this same decision, the Government set insurance scheme for the launch of the Sich-2-30 spacecraft and defined appropriate sources of funding.

Ukraine’s indigenous Earth observation satellite Sich-2-30 as it was as of late 2020

Ukrainian Minister for Strategic Industries Oleh Uruskiy, commenting on this occasion, said, “The green light has been given to the organizational and financial measures needed to get the Sich-2-30 spacecraft ready and launched into orbit. Now Ukraine’s State Space Agency and KB Yuzhnoye/Pivdenne have to do their part”.

Volodymyr Taftay, newly appointed head of Ukraine’s State Space Agency has confirmed plans to get Sich-2-30 launched into Earth orbit by 2022: “The Sich-2-30 spacecraft has been fully assembled and undergoing testing so that it’s ready to be launched from a SpaceX’s facility in December 2021”.

Ukrainian Sich-2-30 spacecraft will be brought into Earth orbit by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 booster in 2021

Interestingly, the draft program doesn’t name specific contractors for its included projects, meaning Private Sector businesses (not only KB Yuzhnoye/Pivdenne) may be allowed to develop equipment (ex: high-resolution Earth observation spacecraft) for this program.

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