Israel’s Spacecom has held talks in Kyiv, Ukraine, with the head of the State Space Agency of Ukraine (SSAU) on creating a Ukrainian national satellite communications system (UNSCS).
According to an announcement on SSAU’s website, the talks on the status of the UNSCS project were held between SSAU head Pavlo Dehtiarenko and CEO of Spacecom CEO David Pollack in Kyiv at the end of February. According to the press service, Israeli representatives expressed interest in a successful launch into orbit of the [Ukrainian] Lybid satellite and activating it with the aim of using it jointly.
During the meeting, the positive experience of cooperation between Spacecom and the state-owned Ukrkosmos enterprise was noted, namely the rent of the AMOS 7 satellite under the Strana TV project, the press release said. The creation of UNSCS in cooperation with Canada and Russia foresaw the creation and launch of the Lybid satellite, which would operate at a geostationary orbit beaming in three directions: European-Ukrainian, Western-African and Indian, capable of transmitting up to 900 television stations.
The satellite was created under a contract signed by SSAU and Canada’s MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) in December of 2009. A loan worth $254.6 million was raised from Export Development Canada (EDC) against government guarantees to build the satellite on the Express 1000NT platform, developed by Russia’s Information Satellite Systems — Reshetnev Company. Since summer 2014, the satellite has been in safe custody at the Russian developer, as was instructed by the Canadian general contractor.
The implementation of the project was under a threat of a failure due to the annexation of Crimea and the loss of land infrastructure involved in the project by Ukraine. Taking additional financial liabilities, Ukraine has overcome force majeure: in 2014 to 2015, a new spacecraft control center was built on Ukraine’s mainland.
Ukraine’s government in October 2017 supported SSAU’s proposal for additional financing of the project in the amount of $17 million, taking into account increased costs. SSAU in November announced plans to use the satellite in the second half of 2018. The satellite will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome using a Zenith-3SLBF carrier rocket. The project was jeopardized by the bankruptcy in 2017 of Diamantbank (Kyiv), one of the clients and creditors of Ukrkosmos, which ordered the satellite.
Article source: KyivPost, Ukraine's Global Voice