Despite Crisis, Yuzhnoye Officials Say It’s Business as Usual

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PARIS — Ukraine’s Yuzhnoye Design Office is continuing to produce engines and other rocket components for customers in the United States, Brazil, Russia, Europe and elsewhere with no interruptions stemming from the crisis in Ukraine’s relations with Moscow, Yuzhnoye officials said April 10.

Addressing the Space Access conference in Paris, the officials said Yuzhnoye, based in Dnipropetrovsk —  in the eastern part of Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin recently referred to as Novorossiya, or New Russia — has become accustomed to maintaining its operations regardless of political turmoil.

“We have been able to survive all this, including the years after the breakup of the Soviet Union, because we operate with almost complete independence from the government. This is essential,” said Yuzhnoye’s Oleg Ventskovsky, who outlined Ukraine’s engine development activities with Yuzhnoye’s Mykola Lytvyn.

“Of course recent events are a concern,” Ventskovsky said. “But our modus operandi is international commerce, which allows us some flexibility and gives us opportunities. Up to now we have seen no effect on our business.”

Ukrainian engines and other components are used in the United States aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket, in Europe on the European Space Agency’s Vega, and in Brazil as part of a joint Brazil-Ukraine venture to establish a spaceport, using Ukraine’s Cyclone vehicle, on Brazilian territory.

Yuzhnoye is also a major supplier for the Russian-owned commercial Sea Launch AG ocean-launched rocket system. Recently Russian and Kazakh authorities announced that the Ukrainian Zenit vehicle, a version of which is used by Sea Launch, would be the preferred vehicle for the Baiterek project at the Russian-run Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

The Russian and Ukrainian governments also jointly manage the ISC Kosmotras commercial launch venture, which converts silo-launched strategic missiles into space-launch vehicles. Ukraine in recent years has sought a formal relationship with the 20-nation European Space Agency, without success.

 

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