NASA and Ukraine Will Conquer the Moon

2019

NASA stated that they are interested in attracting Ukrainian enterprises to projects which are related to moon exploration. This statement was made by the head of the aerospace agency, Jim Bridenstine, during a meeting with the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Valery Chaly.

According to the information, during the meeting the head of NASA and the Ukrainian diplomat discussed issues of cooperation in space exploration for peaceful purposes.

What Is the Point?

Chaly and Brydenstein admitted the positive experience of cooperation between the two countries on the example of the Antares project. As part of this project, Orbital Sciences Corporation developed the eponymous launch vehicle that is used for commercial launches. The first stage of the rocket was developed with the participation of the Ukrainian design bureau Pivdenne, which was previously engaged in the creation of Zenith rockets.

According to the information provided by the Pivdenne Design Office, the enterprise is developing a concept for creating a lunar research base. The lunar project encompasses the configuration and infrastructure at various stages of operation, the project implementation dates, as well as the main technical characteristics of the systems being developed. For instance, the engineers are focused on developing space transport system for the delivery of crew and cargo to the surface of the moon, typical constructions of lunar modules, vehicles on the surface of the moon, etc.

According to the published strategy, within the framework of the project from 2020 to 2030, Ukraine should complete the preparatory stage (the preliminary study of the lunar surface), and it should go on to create a “minimum configuration base” by 2030. In April 2018, Gennady Osinov, head of the design department of Pivdenne Design Bureau for the development of special rocket and space systems, confirmed the continuation of work on the project. At the same time, he admitted that it couldn’t be implemented without international support. Moreover, the financing of the project’s work involves the participation of the governments of the most developed countries.

According to the official NASA website, the new moon exploration program was signed by US President Donald Trump in 2017. Within its framework, the possibility of creating a small manned spacecraft for the delivery of people is being developed. In addition, the agency plans to create a satellite base for the preparation of missions to Mars and further around the Solar System.

By the way, the total NASA CLPS program budget amounted to more than $ 2.6 billion, which will be won by US companies Draper, Intuitive Machines, Orbit Beyond, Moon Express, Masten Space Systems, Deep Space Systems, Lockheed Martin, Astrobotic and Firefly Aerospace. The latter belongs to the Ukrainian businessman Maxim Polyakov, who lives in America.

Firefly Aerospace develops light space trucks. Polyakov bought it in 2017. He is also the founder of Noosphere Ventures, a mapping, and analytical service in the United States and Ukraine.

The first commercial lunar module should go to the moon at the end of 2021, but the national administration still has a lot of unresolved problems. Particularly, it is not known what exactly commercial enterprises will do and how each of them will be involved in different missions.